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   Cruise Travel - Cruise News

Cruise Club is a free service, and when you join, you will begin receiving weekly updates including the latest cruise news and cruise specialsWelcome to this week's edition of Cruise News, the best place on the Web to find up-to-date information about cruises. To automatically receive Cruise News via email each week, join our Cruise Club.

For up to the minute news, stop by Cruise Talk anytime to post a message or find out what your fellow passengers and industry insiders are saying about a particular ship, cruise line or destination.


Cruise News - September 17, 2018

Celebrity Cruises Unveils The Grand Plaza
With Celebrity Edge less than three months from its first official sailing, Celebrity Cruises completes the final chapter of the ship's transformational design story, with the reveal of iconic spaces designed by renowned designers, Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku of Jouin Manku Studio. This includes the stunning space that will become the beating heart of the year's most anticipated new ship, The Grand Plaza, yet another venue designed to break from traditional cruise ship thinking and shatter all expectations.

"We couldn't be happier that the excitement and anticipation around the launch of Celebrity Edge is growing each and every day," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "We're thrilled to give everyone another sneak peek of our transformational new ship with the unveiling of The Grand Plaza, the ever-evolving epicenter of Celebrity Edge, and even more beautiful installations brought to life by the truly visionary Jouin Manku, who infused a dynamism and energy that will be felt throughout the ship at almost every turn."

With the aspiration to completely transform the way guests connect to the world, Celebrity sought creative thinkers who were new to the cruise industry to ensure every aspect of Celebrity Edge would be a departure from traditional thinking about cruising.

Among those chosen were the Paris-based design duo of Jouin Manku, who are celebrated for drawing inspiration from a multitude of cultures and for merging cutting-edge technology with old-world craftsmanship. They are credited with world-famous works such as the Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée and the Jules Verne restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. Together, the visionaries collaborated with the Celebrity team to bring these new concepts to life.

Jouin's connection to the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard was also found to be far rooted beyond his work on Celebrity Edge, noting: "The shipyard is very important for me and my family: My grandfather worked at this very yard, and when he passed away at a young age, they hired my grandmother so she could continue to support her family. This project was a very emotional one for me. Sanjit and I channeled that into our design, which inspired our unique approach in showing the craftmanship."

Mixing simplicity and modernity, The Grand Plaza takes inspiration from the glamourous days of transatlantic travel. At a time when cruise ships were at the heart of chic society, the center of these ships were traditionally spectacular ballrooms, accented with dramatic staircases and ornate chandeliers. They were social places to meet, greet, dine, drink and dance. The Grand Plaza pays homage to these powerful historic spaces and reinterprets them for the 21st century.

Spanning three decks at the heart of the ship, The Grand Plaza acts as the epicenter of Celebrity Edge, which radiates an energy that lures guests throughout the day, as it transforms both physically and atmospherically. Guests are drawn to the space by The Chandelier, a striking lighting feature – and art installation – that rises over the Martini Bar to the ceiling three decks above. Composed of five levels of 765 blades illuminated by dynamic LED strips that change color from day to night, The Chandelier weighs in at seven tons.

Here, guests will be transported to the lively piazzas of Italy, of which this sprawling 5,167 sq. ft. space was also inspired. Home to many of the incredible new specialty restaurants – including Raw on 5 and Fine Cut Steakhouse on Deck 5; Le Grand Bistro and Café al Bacio on Deck 4; and the new Grand Plaza Café on Deck 3 – The Grand Plaza truly is a grand space. At its center, on Deck 3, guests will find the breathtaking next evolution of the always-buzzing Martini Bar, one of the most popular venues across Celebrity's fleet. Adorning the edges of The Grand Plaza are intricately hand-stitched mesh screens, combining more than 13,500 pieces of metal, leather, and fabric.

In the morning, The Grand Plaza invites guests to enjoy a cappuccino and a croissant at either of the cafés. Guests can return to The Grand Plaza for afternoon tea or to indulge in a pre-dinner cocktail while enjoying unexpected pop-up performances. At nightfall, the energy transforms completely, and the space becomes the social epicenter of the ship, coming alive with live music.

The Grand Plaza remains a highlight of Jouin Manku's involvement in the design of Celebrity Edge, but their influence can be felt throughout the ship.

Inspired by the thousands of hands that go in to the construction of a ship – such as Jouin's grandfather, who was a welder in the construction of the S.S. Normandie – Jouin Manku designed the exposed corridor. Complete with authentic welders' touches, architects' markings and engineers' notes, the exposed corridor uncovers the bare hull of the ship leading to and from The Grand Plaza and the main dining rooms. The space transforms depending on the direction a guest is walking, like a life-sized lenticular wall. One way, guests will see the unadorned beauty of the ship's steel bones, while heading in the other direction guests will see a sleek, modern design that starkly contrasts the alternate view.

"When we were asked to work on The Grand Plaza, one of our biggest inspirations were people in the shipyard who were able to manipulate steel as if it were plastic," said Manku. "Their awe-inspiring craftsmanship inspired us and had us asking ourselves 'How can we show the bones of the ship?' Because the bones are so beautiful, you don't need to put a cover on them."

Jouin Manku's influence is also strikingly apparent in the Main Dining Atrium, where they've taken the concept of a staircase and turned it into a work of art. Hanging three stories between the flights of stairs is yet another meaningful art installation known as The Pendulum. The Pendulum base moves ever so gently to the rhythms of the ocean to remind guests that they are indeed moving and connected to the sea, even when they cannot see it.

Norwegian Cruise Line Announces Summer 2020 Itineraries
Norwegian Cruise Line, the innovator in cruise travel, today opened for sale summer 2020 itineraries for 11 of its 17 ships, including upcoming voyages for Norwegian Encore, the company’s highly anticipated ship setting sail in 2019. The cruise line also opened summer 2021 through spring 2022 sailings on its Pride of America ship. P>With voyages to the most popular destinations in the world, the summer 2020 schedule includes three ships cruising to Alaska, four ships voyaging in Europe and two sailing to Bermuda from New York City and Boston, including Norwegian Encore, which begins sailing from the city that never sleeps on April 22, 2020.

“We’re proud of the itineraries we’ve carefully curated for our guests, which allow them to experience some of the most sought-after destinations around the globe,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “Summer 2020 is especially exciting as our Breakaway-Plus class will be making waves all over the world, from Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Bliss in Alaska to Norwegian Encore in Bermuda and Norwegian Escape’s debut in Europe as our newest ship in the region.”

Alaska – Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Jewel

Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Jewel will sail to Alaska in summer 2020, as the youngest and most exciting fleet in the region. Sister ships, Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Bliss, return to the state with seven-day cruises from Seattle, Washington beginning May 9 and May 10 respectively. In Alaska, Norwegian Joy will call to Holkham Bay, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Ketchikan, and in British Columbia, she will call in Victoria. Norwegian Bliss will call to Glacier Bay, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan, Alaska as well as Victoria, British Columbia.

Rounding out the Alaskan fleet, beginning May 11, Norwegian Jewel returns to Vancouver, British Columbia and Seward, Alaska to sail her incredibly popular seven-day Glacier Bay Northbound and Inside Passage itineraries.

Europe – Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Epic

Norwegian Escape will make her European debut on May 29 offering nine-day cruises to the Baltic region from Copenhagen, Denmark with calls to Warnemünde, Germany; Tallinn, Estonia, Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm (Nynashamn), Sweden and an overnight in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Norwegian Escape will be one of the newest and largest Norwegian ships to homeport in Europe offering guests flexibility and choice with over 27 dining options, 21 bars and lounges, Broadway-style entertainment and more.

For the first time, beginning May 15, Norwegian Dawn will cruise from Europe offering seven-to-eleven-day sailings to the Greek Isles from Venice, Italy. From May 8, Norwegian Getaway will offer ten-and-eleven-day cruises to the Greek Isles and Italy from Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy. Both Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Getaway will visit Kotor, Montenegro; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Corfu, Santorini and Mykonos, Greece, among other Mediterranean cities. Norwegian Epic’s European summer 2020 itineraries will open for sale on October 16, 2018.

Bermuda – Norwegian Encore and Norwegian Gem

Following her inaugural season in the Caribbean, Norwegian Encore will reposition from Miami, Florida to New York City offering seven-day cruises to Bermuda beginning April 22, while Norwegian Gem will offer seven-day voyages from Boston to Bermuda beginning May 1. Both ships’ seven-day itineraries overnight in port offering guests three days in Bermuda.

Caribbean – Norwegian Breakaway

Beginning April 23, Norwegian Breakaway returns to Miami with a selection of five-and-seven-day cruises to the Western Caribbean visiting Roatan and Bay Islands, Honduras; Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; and the resort-style island destination of Harvest Caye in Southern Belize. She will also sail a variety of three-and-four-day cruises to the Bahamas calling to Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island.

Bahamas & Florida / Canada & New England – Norwegian Pearl

As of May 23, for the first time, Norwegian Pearl will homeport in New York City offering select seven, ten and eleven-day cruises to Canada and New England with calls to Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, New Brunswick; Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine; and Newport, Rhode Island. She will also offer seven-day voyages to Bahamas and Florida with visits to Port Canaveral, Florida; Nassau and Norwegian’s private island paradise, Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas, which will have recently undergone enhancements as part of Norwegian Edge®, the company’s commitment to elevating the standard of excellence across its fleet and resort-style destinations.

Hawaii – Pride of America

Pride of America will continue cruising her seven-day inter-island itinerary that offers nearly 100 hours of port time in Hawaii’s main islands, including calls in Hilo, Kona, and overnight stays in Kahului, Maui and Nãwiliwili, Kauai with an afternoon cruising past the breathtaking Nãpali Coast. Norwegian’s Pride of America will depart from Honolulu every Saturday beginning May 1, 2021 through April 2022.

Cunard Unveils Expanded Program of 2020 Summer Voyages
Cunard Line has announced its expanded voyage program for the remainder of 2020, including new voyages to the Norwegian Fjords, Japan and Australia. Guests will have the opportunity to experience true luxury and relaxation on Cunard's iconic ships – Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria – while traveling around the world.

Cunard will continue many of its classic voyages, including its signature Transatlantic Crossing between New York and London, while adding new itineraries in Western Europe and Southeast Asia. Whether choosing a three-night short break or a 19-night Grand Voyage, Cunard guests will enjoy a blend of iconic, world-class cities and lesser-known, charming destinations.

In total, the Cunard fleet will travel over 169,000 nautical miles with calls at 110 destinations in 34 different countries, with eight maiden calls including Bornholm, Denmark; Nordfjordeid, Norway; Ringaskiddy, Ireland; Jakarta, Indonesia; as well as Kurhiro, Ishigaki and Tokyo, Japan. Cunard will also offer a selection of two-night calls in major cities including Barcelona, Hong Kong and Québec and late evening departures which allow guests more time in port for deeper exploration in places such as Juneau, Alaska, Aomori, Japan , Malaga, Spain, and Tromsø, Norway.

"2020 represents the most extensive deployment of Cunard ships ever," said Josh Leibowitz, SVP Cunard North America. "In addition to visiting incredible destinations such as Norway, Japan, and Asia, we are excited to offer guests longer time in port to enjoy these iconic destinations. Nearly 90% of all port calls on voyages in Summer 2020 are in port 10 hours or longer."

Queen Mary 2

Flagship ocean liner Queen Mary 2 will continue to be the only ship to offer regularly-scheduled service between New York and London, making 19 7- to 8-night Transatlantic Crossings from April through December in 2020. Voyage itineraries range from seven to 21 nights and include port calls in Canada, Iceland, Scotland and Le Havre, France, along with overnight calls in Québec and Reykjavik and evening departures in Boston and Halifax. Queen Mary 2 will also sail two Norwegian Fjords voyages ranging from seven to 25 nights and five Western European voyages for three to five nights.

Queen Mary 2 voyage highlights include:

• Nine 14- to 15-night Transatlantic Crossings roundtrip from either New York or London

• Two 21-night sailings with calls to Canada, Iceland and Scotland – one sailing roundtrip from New York, the other roundtrip from London

• Fourth of July seven-night Independence Day cruise roundtrip from New York

• Four seven-night voyages between New York and Québec

• Eight 14-night New England & Canada voyages which begin and end in ports of New York, Québec, Southampton or Le Havre

Queen Elizabeth

Continuing with the exciting new voyage types first introduced in 2019, Queen Elizabeth, will continue to roam among far-flung and beloved destinations to bring our guests a taste of the exotic in Fall 2020. Starting in September, Queen Elizabeth will embark on three roundtrip voyages from Tokyo as well as Grand Voyages that cover the North Pacific, East Asia and Australia. These can be taken as shorter individual voyages from two to 18-nights, or grouped together into longer combinations of up to 40 nights, to satisfy any discerning guest's need for exploration.

Queen Elizabeth highlights include:

• Five Roundtrip Tokyo itineraries with varying lengths and destinations

• Five Southeast Asia voyages, ranging from seven to 23 nights

Queen Victoria

Cunard's Queen Victoria will return to Southampton in early spring after embarking on a circumnavigation of South America. She will continue to sail Northern Europe itineraries in addition to seven shorter Western Europe voyages ranging from two to seven nights. She will make seven maiden calls with overnight stays in the major cities of Amsterdam, Barcelona, Reykjavik and St. Petersburg, and evening departures in Bodo, Narvik and Tromsø, Norway, Dublin, Ireland, Hamburg, Germany, Malaga, Spain, and Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Queen Victoria highlights include:

• Four Baltic voyages, ranging from nine to 16 nights

• Four Norwegian Fjords voyages, ranging from seven to 12 nights

• Three Atlantic Coast/Iberia voyages, ranging from 10 to 12 nights

• Two 12-night Iceland voyages

• Two 12-night North Cape voyages (with a high likelihood of seeing the Northern Lights at Alesund)

• Two Western Mediterranean voyages, ranging from 14 to 17 nights

• A 12-night British Isles voyage

Queen Victoria maiden calls:

• Bodo, Norway

• Bornholm, Denmark

• Riga, Latvia

• Nordfjordeid, Norway

• Leknes, Norway

• Skjolden, Norway

• Ringaskiddy (for tours to Cork), Ireland

Carnival Corporation Launches OceanView Mobile
Carnival Corporation today announced it is launching OceanView Mobile – the first travel content app from a travel provider that lets people explore the most popular destinations wherever and whenever they choose.

OceanView Mobile is available for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play, and features free content from Carnival Corporation. OceanView also will be available in late October on the company's Ocean.com website.

Viewers can select from a slate of more than 150 full episodes from favorite "Ocean Original" shows like The Voyager with Josh Garcia (which airs weekly on NBC); Ocean TreksTM with Jeff Corwin and Vacation CreationTM with Tommy Davidson and Andrea Feczko (both of which air weekly on ABC); and Good Spirits, as well as 30 short-form episodes of original series, "GO" and "Local Eyes."

OceanView also will showcase video collections from the corporation's cruise brands, with viewers able to check out memorable new-ship christening ceremonies featuring royalty and celebrities, as well as the fascinating process of ship design and construction, elaborate culinary creations from world-renown chefs and ever-evolving ship attractions.

"Our Ocean Originals already are the most popular travel series on TV in the U.S., and now travel fans around the world can watch their favorite shows anytime they want, from wherever they are – whether that's at home, on the go or on our ships," said John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival Corporation. "Our ability to extend consumer brand engagement from broadcast TV to all major video-on-demand platforms, all major over-the-top platforms and all major mobile platforms is unprecedented in the travel industry. This allows us to showcase the extraordinary experiences available on cruise vacations to millions of potential guests, and to help them get excited about where they'll go next, whenever they prefer."

Carnival Corporation's creation and strategic distribution of compelling and authentic experiential content is part of the company's larger strategy to increase awareness and demand for cruise vacations. The three network shows consistently rank as number one or number two in their time slots. With cruise vacations growing 20 percent faster than land-based vacations and with more people than ever taking cruise vacations in 2018, the strong ratings are further evidence that global interest in cruise vacations is becoming more and more popular.

"Ocean Originals" use compelling and authentic storytelling to share the powerful way travel by sea connects people, places and cultures by showcasing exciting adventures, exotic cultures and popular global destinations. Ships from all nine of the company's cruise line brands ­– Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, P&O Cruises (Australia) and P&O Cruises (UK) – serve as the platform for engaging and emotional experiences.

All OceanView Mobile content is free to watch.

• "Ocean Treks with Jeff Corwin" (ABC)
"Ocean Treks with Jeff Corwin" follows Emmy-winning host Jeff Corwin as he embarks on adventures in some of the world's most exciting destinations, such as rappelling down cliffs, flight-seeing to glacier landings, mountain climbing in a national park and zip lining through a rainforest. The show broadcasts nationally as part of the Daytime Emmy-winning block Weekend Adventure, a three-hour programming block airing Saturday mornings on 98 percent of the country's ABC affiliate channels, and begins its third season on October 6.

• "Vacation Creation" (ABC)
"Vacation Creation," featuring "In Living Color" star and comedian Tommy Davidson and YouTube celebrity Andrea Feczko as hosts, goes beyond the typical travel show by personalizing vacations of a lifetime for couples, individuals and families facing hardship, in need of hope or seeking much-needed time together. The series airs on ABC stations and its third season begins October 6.

• "The Voyager with Josh Garcia" (NBC)
"The Voyager with Josh Garcia" follows video journalist and world-traveler Josh Garcia as he goes off the beaten path in fascinating seaside ports to meet locals who share their rich history, life stories and exotic foods, and introduces viewers to the hidden beauty, cultural diversity and amazing flavors native to each destination. The program airs as part of NBC's three-hour programming block that extends the network's "The More You Know" brand with inspiring stories on NBC stations throughout the country on Saturday mornings. Season three launches October 6.

• "Good Spirits" (A&E, FYI)
"Good Spirits" joins pioneering cocktail chef Matthew Biancaniello sailing the globe on the company's world-leading cruise lines in search of extraordinary everyday people, sharing stories of spirits and collecting farm-fresh, native ingredients to inspire one-of-a-kind cocktail creations. The show originally aired on A&E and FYI and now can be seen on the OceanView AppleTV, Roku and Amazon Fire channel.

Two short-form series -- "GO" and "Local Eyes" -- are five to 10 minutes in length, feeding a growing interest for shorter, "snackable" content, with episode collections that are released periodically.

• "GO"
With visually stunning cinematography, "GO" chronicles the artist and explorer Trek Thunder Kelly as he travels the world by ocean in search of his next exotic destination. Through his passion for authentic experiences and ability to strike up a conversation with fellow travelers, viewers are transported to new and interesting places, and introduced to extraordinary people who live there, creating epic adventures that provide inspiration for getting off the couch and traveling near and far.

• "Local Eyes"
From Trieste to Curacao and Cabernet to Moko Jumbie, "Local Eyes" introduces viewers to unique destinations through those who know each destination the best – local residents. Hosted by dynamic world traveler Anji Corley, "Local Eyes" immerses viewers into the authentic side of each destination, as Corley interacts with everyday people living in each destination who share compelling stories about local culture, history, places off-the-beaten path and more. Viewers will see destinations in a whole new light after watching Local Eyes.

Cruises Make Happier Holidays
Strange things will be happening on the high seas for Halloween, and Santa Claus will be visiting cruise ships around the world in December. No matter the holiday, cruise lines go all out getting into the spirit with special decorations, traditional food and a plethora of fun activities.

Expect to see your ship done up in black and orange and with goblins and witches wandering around for Halloween; serving turkey with over-the-top trimmings for Thanksgiving; festooned stem-to-stern for Christmas; and becoming the scene for extravagant dress-up parties for New Year's.

And all you have to do is have fun. No need to entertain, or do the cooking – and cleaning -- yourself.

Oktoberfest and Christmas, German style

Experience an Oktoberfest to remember on the high seas with German line AIDA Cruises. The celebration embraces Bavarian tent-style activities from arm wrestling to yodeling. Popular German bands will be onboard AIDAperla and AIDAprima for live performances. Both ships will serve a special Oktoberfest beer brewed in the ships' own breweries, to be enjoyed while sitting or dancing on benches. Traditional Bavarian culinary fare will include pork knuckle, sausage salad and dumplings. Wearing traditional dress is encouraged.

Christmas and New Year's sailings bring AIDA Cruises guests to destinations including the Caribbean, Canary Islands, Mediterranean and Southeast Asia. Ships include the brand new AIDAnova, the first ship in the world powered at sea and in port with liquefied natural gas, the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel. Advent cruises celebrate with Christmas carol singalongs, Advent calendars, trees and other Christmas decorations and gingerbread. Christmas markets take place onboard, making holiday shopping easy. Goose is served on Christmas Eve.

Celebrating with Pirate Patch and The Grinch

For the month of October, Carnival Cruise Line is expanding its already popular "Frightfully Fun" Halloween programming with even more "spook-tacular" activities. The celebration will include costume contests, trick-or-treating and special holiday versions of live deck parties, trivia, Dive-In Movies, arts and crafts, and bingo. The centerpiece of the fun will be Patch, Carnival Cruise Line's pumpkin pirate, who will stand guard in the atrium on each ship.

Starting in late November, it's "Grinchmas Time" throughout the Carnival Cruise Line fleet. Though Mr. Grinch may be "a mean one" as part of the line's exclusive Seuss at Sea program, and decked out in his green "Santy Claus" costume, he's actually a leader of fun. The young and young at heart can catch a glimpse of the cantankerous curmudgeon as he slinks and slithers throughout the ship, with both scheduled appearances and spontaneous pop-up visits.

Carnival Cruise Line's 26 ships also celebrate the holidays with ornately decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, mistletoe, caroling and appearances by Santa Claus, as well as traditional food including roast turkey and pecan pie on Christmas Day.

British holiday celebrations on P&O Cruises

Beginning in late November, special Christmas Market cruises visit markets around Europe, giving P&O Cruises guests opportunity to stock up on gifts, ranging from fine Belgium chocolates to handmade artisan gifts from Amsterdam and everything in between.

The seven ships in the fleet will be lavishly decorated with a total of 249 Christmas trees, adorned with twinkling lights and more than 44,000 decorations. Christmas dinners, festive-themed entertainment and holiday-themed films get everyone in the holiday spirit. On the line's family-friendly ships, Father Christmas comes down the ship's funnel. Guests can choose Christmas sailings in the Caribbean, Baltic and Canary Islands.

Ultra-luxury celebrations on Seabourn

Guests on Seabourn's five ultra-luxury ships will celebrate the holidays in destinations around the world. There's Christmas and New Year's in Australia and the South Pacific or the opportunity to embrace the spirit in the stark white scenery of Antarctica. Guests on Seabourn Odyssey may spend some holiday time beachcombing in the Caribbean, while those on the new Seabourn Ovation will be exploring Thailand and Vietnam.

On all the ships, Thanksgiving brings a traditional turkey dinner. During Hanukkah and Christmas, the Seabourn ships are transformed into holiday wonderlands with gingerbread village displays and evergreen hangings draping railings and balusters. New Year's Eve brings a formal party with a memorable toast to 2019.

A holiday wonderland on Princess Cruises

It actually snows in the atrium on Princess Cruises ships, even if you're celebrating the holidays in the sunny Caribbean or other warm local. Passengers mingle with Kris Kringle, as yuletide carolers sing the classics, and the halls are decked with trees with red ribbons – even the ships' masts get Christmas trees.

There is opportunity to sip eggnog and make gingerbread houses as a family. Christmas dinner brings a choice of roast turkey or goose with all the trimmings. Special holiday parties take place in the youth and teen centers, with cookies for Santa and carrots for his reindeer on Christmas Eve.

Princess Cruises also goes all out for Halloween, with various spooky decorations, a Fright Night Party and costume contest and a special scavenger hunt for families. Thanksgiving festivities include the ever-popular turkey calling contest.

Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, is celebrated with a menorah-lighting ceremony, themed crafts, festive décor and such traditional delicacies as potato latkes. New Year's brings a countdown party culminating with a balloon drop and celebratory champagne toast.

Relax during New Year's Day with college bowl championship games shown on the outdoor movie screen and a football tailgate party with game-day treats.

Holland America Line ships add holiday sparkle

On the ships of Holland America Line, Halloween is celebrated with a pumpkin-carving contest where passengers vote their favorite. Kids go trick-or-treating around the ship (parents can join in, too) as part of the Club HAL program, and some crew wear costumes. There's also a costume dance party for guests – with awards (candy) given for funniest, most creative, best team and best overall costumes.

Thanksgiving brings fall décor, spiced pumpkin lattes and an impressive turkey dinner capped with a big selection of pies and desserts.

Whether you are sailing in the Caribbean on the newly launched Nieuw Statendam and other ships or in Australia, Asia, Hawaii, the Mexican Riviera or Asia, a highlight of Christmas Eve is a tree-lighting ceremony and Christmas carols in the atrium, with one child chosen to throw "snow" at the tree – a cue for the holiday lights to be turned on. There's also a Christmas Eve concert featuring international crew members singing carols.

On Christmas morning, Santa arrives and kids, 'tweens and teens receive wrapped presents. Clergy are onboard leading services for Hanukkah and Christmas.

New Year's Eve is celebrated with a gala ball and champagne toast, followed by a selection of college football bowl games shown on New Year's Day.

Embracing tradition with Cunard

A transatlantic or other voyage on a Cunard ocean liner is always an occasion, but even more so when the ships embrace the holiday spirit – especially since the line has nearly two centuries of experience in celebrating.

During the season, Christmas decorations include poinsettias and other seasonal flowers. Gingerbread villages are displayed. There's a festive buffet lunch on embarkation day, and special menus are created for gala dinners on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve. Children participate in workshops, decorating cookies and gingerbread.

Holiday cruises Down Under

On the ships of P&O Cruises Australia, Halloween gets spooky with decorations, costumes, themed treats and entertainment for kids and adults alike. Dance enthusiasts can learn routines to iconic tracks such as the "Time Warp" and "Thriller," before showing off their moves at a special Halloween fright night party. Kids will have a ball with activities that include pumpkin and ice-carving, murder mystery games, scavenger hunts, face painting and a junior Monster Mash party. Expect popup appearances by witches and such.

Christmas on the Australian line's ships embrace the "throw a shrimp on the barbie" spirit. With the warm summer temperatures, guests can stay in their flip flops while enjoying such activities as carolling, cookie decorating and visits by Santa.

Christmas Eve brings a special variety concert and Christmas Day is all about lunch and dinner. On Boxing Day, the ships sponsor Backyard Cricket on a special pitch at sea. On New Year's Eve there are parties around the ship including on the top deck, with the South Pacific as the backdrop.

Australia Day on January 26, 2019, is another cause for shipboard celebration, with themed entertainment for guests of all ages – including meat pies and other Aussie eats and an Australian national anthem sing off.

Experience the holidays Italian style

Santa Claus comes onboard to personally host experiences, pose for photos and help make memories at Christmastime on ships from Italy-based Costa Cruises, whether they are cruising in the Mediterranean, South America or the Caribbean. A special show production is themed around the holiday and there are gifts for all kids onboard under a traditional tree. Special menus enhance the festive atmosphere and include a touch of Italian classic tastes – such as Italian panettone or pandoro for dessert.

Memorable New Year's Eve parties bring surprises, and there is opportunity to celebrate on December 31 at the pool, where the giant LED screen broadcasts New Year's events in various time zones around the world.

Tips for Holiday Cruises

• Plan ahead. Holiday sailings are popular, so it's important to book well in advance to get the stateroom of your choice.

• Splurge on space. Especially if you are bringing the family, you will want room to spread out. Book a balcony and you can feel warm sea breezes in your own space, while you think of your friends and relatives in snowy locales.

• Leave the bulk of the gifts back home. You don't want fill your luggage with gifts. Bring one special item for each family member, and plan to open the rest later. Or better yet, seek out surprises in the onboard shops.

• Bring treats for the crew. These hardworking folks are away from home during the holidays and will appreciate your acts of kindness.

• Pick up ornaments at each port of call. They'll help you remember your great holiday experience for years to come.

Princess Cruises Welcomes Cruisers of All Ages
Princess Cruises, the cruise line known for taking guests around the globe to more than 380 destinations, reminds families that guests of all ages are welcome aboard to explore the world on a cruise ship - considered one of the best vacation options for multigenerational families.

The cruise line is celebrating its fourth year of an exclusive partnership with Discovery, offering immersive Discovery at SEA experiences, including newly branded Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Centers, Discovery Family shore excursions and many educational and interactive activities, ultimately creating lifelong memories for families of all ages.

Since 2014, more than 1,000 Discovery, Animal Planet and Discovery Family shore excursions in worldwide ports have been added, including 300 exclusive tours that can only be experienced with Princess Cruises. In addition, onboard programming such as Stargazing at Sea has allowed guests to look up and learn about billions of stars on deck under the night sky.

"Over the last several years, we've made a dedicated effort to welcome cruisers of all ages to enjoy the diverse range of family fun, educational and entertaining activities through our Discovery at SEA programs," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "While some cruise lines are now restricting the age of their younger guests, we believe a cruise vacation is the perfect way for families of all ages and sizes to come together to discover the world, relax onboard and reconnect with loved ones."

Swartz added, "We frequently hear from multigenerational families that they love cruising with us because we've done all of the planning for them – from selecting the best tours in port to providing engaging onboard entertainment. All they have to do is come aboard and let us take care of every detail. And, grandparents, children and grandkids alike can all choose their preferred activities, then reunite for dinner to share their experiences."

Discovery at SEA activities include:

Discovery, Animal Planet and Discovery Family Shore Excursions – More than 300 Discovery, Animal Planet and Discovery Family Exclusive shore excursions offer family-themed experiences in more than 130 ports of call, providing enriching content, food and activities. From "Irish for a Day" in Dublin, to "Alaska Fishing and Wilderness Dining" in Ketchikan to "Meet the Sloths" in Costa Rica, tour options are plentiful, meaningful and engaging for all ages.

Stargazing at Sea & Voyage to the Stars Indoor Planetarium – Science Channel and Princess Cruises take guests on a cosmic voyage looking at the sky from the top deck on an interactive guided tour with a Stargazing Specialist, identifying major constellations and learning the secrets of the stars and the folklore around them. The indoor "Voyage of the Stars Planetarium" displays real-time images of the solar system and planets. Both indoor and outdoor stargazing includes commentary from Discovery at Sea's Science Channel Ambassador Astrophysicist Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi and Kari Bryon from Mythbusters.

Camp Discovery – Newly rebranded "Camp Discovery" (ages 3-12) and "The Beach House" (ages 13-17) Youth & Teen Centers offer younger cruisers engaging new experiences and wonder-filled centers inspiring creativity, curiosity and entertainment. Popular activities include:

• Jawsome Mythbusters hands-on challenges, developed with Tori Belleci from Mythbusters.

• Animal Planet uncovers ferocious secrets in Shark Attack and learn squid anatomy in Just Squiddin' Around.

• Become an engineer for the day and learn the science of magic with programs from the California Science Center, home of the Endeavour space shuttle.

Teens hanging out in surf-themed lounge, "The Beach House," socialize and connect with video game tournaments, air hockey, ping pong, scavenger hunts, hip-hop classes, dance competitions, parties with mocktails, late night movies and board games.

High Seas Heist with Detective Joe Kenda – Calling all mystery lovers, Princess guests go on the case with celebrity detective Lt. Joe Kenda to see if they can solve a heist whodunit. This voyage-long experience begins with the theft of a rare necklace and ends with the unmasking of the culprit. In between is a journey full of puzzles, clues and activities as guests narrow down their suspect list with help from Lt. Kenda via video segments.

Discovery Hit Shows – Discovery at SEA incorporates content from hit shows and programming like Shark Week, Finding Bigfoot and Mythbusters through activities, challenges and trivia.

Additional programming geared towards younger cruisers includes:

Jr.CHEF@Sea – Princess Chefs host a hands-on food preparation workshop for junior guests, ages 8-12, in the main galley areas. Participants learn how to decorate a cake or make a fruit pizza and even suit up in mini toques and chef aprons and receive a certificate and photo.

Glacier Bay Jr. Rangers Program – Developed with the National Park Service, Jr. Rangers is designed to bring Glacier Bay and the Alaska wilderness to life for thousands of children each summer. The highly regarded program features interactive games, activity books and presentations by Park Rangers. Upon completion of the program, each child is designated a Jr. Ranger and receives his/her very own rangers badge and certificate.

Princess Cruises even offers onboard group babysitting at designated times for $5/hour per child. The minimum guest age allowed is six months (12 months on some of the cruise line's more exotic itineraries.)

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 64.82 + 4.57%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 128.74 + 3.89%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.231 - 1.63%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.83 + 4.51%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the last cruise ship completed for the Home Lines and what happened to her?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Very few photographs taken on board the Titanic during her fateful maiden voyage survived the ship's sinking. Name the passenger who contributed the largest collection and how did he or she survive the sinking?

Answer - The passenger that took the most photos on the Titanic's maiden voyage was Father Francis Brown. He was onboard the Titanic only to her second port of call, Queens Town (now Cobth), Ireland and therefore was not on the Titanic at the time of the sinking.
courtesy of Monica Graham, Cleveland OH


Cruise News - September 10, 2018

Norwegian Encore Hull Artwork Unveiled
Norwegian Cruise Line today revealed that Eduardo Arranz-Bravo, the award-winning Spanish artist, created the hull artwork for the fourth and final ship of its Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Encore, debuting in Miami in November 2019.

A representation of his modern and abstract style, the ship’s hull will feature a labyrinth of color inspired by Arranz-Bravo’s life by the sea in Barcelona and paying tribute to the vibrant guest experience for which the Norwegian brand is recognized.

“Norwegian Cruise Line is a dynamic, pioneering company known for its innovative experiences and breathtaking collection of beautifully designed ships,” said Arranz-Bravo. “I am honored to not only bring that vibrancy to life even more on Norwegian Encore but also showcase my love for the ocean and my hometown of Barcelona.”

Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, played a key role in the selection of Arranz-Bravo as the hull artist for Norwegian Encore, having been inspired by his work for many years. Del Rio’s passion for the arts has helped elevate Norwegian’s on-board experience, most recently with the multi-million-dollar-art collection curated for Norwegian Bliss.

“We are well-known for our iconic hull designs and know that Arranz-Bravo’s lively design will complement the colorful destinations in the Caribbean that Norwegian Encore will visit when she debuts next year,” said Del Rio.

Recognized for his inventive and humanistic approach to abstract art, Arranz-Bravo’s work is showcased throughout the world and portrays a constant evolution that some refer to as futuristic. He is highly regarded, having been the recipient of countless awards and accolades, and was one of three artists chosen to represent the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona.

“Eduardo’s design will be a perfect complement to the collection of hull artwork within our fleet and is a testament to the dynamic experience our guests will have on board,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “We are proud to welcome him to our Norwegian Cruise Line family.”

At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating up to 4,000 guests, Norwegian Encore will complete the Breakaway-Plus class, the most successful class in the company’s history. She is currently being built at Meyer Werft, in Papenburg, Germany and will feature many innovative dining, entertainment and recreational activities that guests have come to expect from the industry-leading brand.

Following her unveiling, she will cruise out of Miami every Sunday and sail seven-day voyages to the Eastern Caribbean, beginning with her first journey on November 17, 2019 through April 12, 2020.

Disney Set To Expand Miami Operations
Disney Cruise Line has been ramping up its profile since announcing a three-newbuild expansion. Ships are set for delivery in 2021, 2022 and 2023, respectively. Now, the line is also making some interesting port moves, as well.

At present, Disney operates seasonally out of PortMiami under a preferential berthing agreement. That agreement expires at the end of this month. But, an amended agreement approved by the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners last week goes much further. In fact, it provides for an eventual year-round presence for the line.

Under the new agreement, Disney commits to bring an additional 50,000 passengers through the port in the next four years. And, the line's presence at PortMiami will really surge in 2023. That's when the line will begin year-round operations there. In doing so, Disney agrees to increase annual passenger estimates from 150,000 to 360,000.

It will also mark the first time Disney deploys a ship year-round from a homeport other than Port Canaveral, Fla.

Disney will offer year-round four- and five-day cruises in 2023. In 2024, it agrees to bring a second, seasonal ship to sail three and four-day cruises from PortMiami.

Additionally, Disney also has first rights to build a new terminal to the east of Terminal J, on the south side of the port. Construction depends, however, on the successful widening of the nearby channel and turning basin. If that isn't feasible, Disney and the port can explore other options.

"Disney Cruise Line has been a valued cruise partner at PortMiami since November 2012," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez in a statement

"With new vessels on order through 2023, we are collaborating with the Disney team on a memorandum of understanding for the potential development of a new cruise terminal project.

"The new facility will allow the port to expand its cruise business by accommodating Disney vessels capable of carrying more than 3,500 passengers. Investing in PortMiami's infrastructure positions Miami as a global destination for visitors. We couldn't be more excited to work with Disney on expanding growth opportunities in Miami-Dade County."

The move to Miami will put Disney in the same year-round operator status as Carnival Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International. Several of the other lines have announced splashy new terminals there. Royal Caribbean's 170,000 sq. ft. structure is under construction. And, officials have recently approved a wave-shaped white terminal for Norwegian Cruise Line. MSC also has a terminal in the works.

Other remodeling is taking place at Terminal C, and extensive upgrades are underway to other terminals. PortMiami is the world's busiest cruise port. The Disney Magic will sail from the port as of December 4.

Eight Holland America Line Ships Set to Soak Up the Sun on Caribbean Cruises in 2018-19
Travelers looking to cruise to the idyllic, sun-drenched beaches of the Caribbean will have more than 100 Holland America Line cruises to choose from between October 2018 and April 2019. Ranging from three to 21 days, guests will have their pick of eight of the line's premium, mid-sized ships including, the newest addition to the fleet, Nieuw Statendam.

Holland America Line's expansive variety of itineraries explore the eastern, western and southern regions of the Caribbean; some sail to Cuba and others spend a day discovering the Panama Canal. Seven ships will sail roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, while Rotterdam takes over the roundtrip Tampa, Florida, departures.

Most Fort Lauderdale departures include a visit to what has been called the best private island in the cruise industry: Half Moon Cay, the line's award-winning private Bahamian island known for its pristine beaches, exciting shore excursions, exclusive beach cabanas and child-friendly activities. Caribbean itineraries this season also introduce Nieuw Statendam on its premier season with cruises from three to 17 days.

Guests aboard Holland America Line will enjoy a diverse blend of popular ports and dozens of less-visited gems while relaxing aboard spacious, mid-sized ships that offer premium amenities, engaging activities and contemporary culinary experiences.

"The Caribbean continues to be a highly popular destination for both first-time cruisers and repeaters because it offers everything: beautiful scenery, tropical weather, diverse activities, a laid-back atmosphere and welcoming locals who are eager to share their customs and culture," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "By offering more than 100 sailings across eight mid-sized ships, including Nieuw Statendam, we're giving our guests more opportunities to tailor a cruise to their desires."

From October 2018 through April 2019, Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Nieuw Statendam, Oosterdam, Rotterdam, Veendam and Zuiderdam sail more than 100 three- to 14-day cruises that can be combined into longer, back-to-back Collectors' Voyages ranging from 13 to 21 days.

Seven Ships Sail Roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale to Cuba and Beyond

In October 2018, Veendam kicks off the Caribbean season with a series of Cuban Explorer cruises. Guests can immerse themselves in Cuba's natural beauty and rich cultural history on a variety of seven-, 10-, 11- and 12-day itineraries through March 2019. Along with Havana and Cienfuegos, Cuba, the ship will call at several other Caribbean ports in Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Mexico. Veendam also offers a seven-day eastern Caribbean Holiday cruise in December and an 11-day southern Caribbean itinerary in January that do not visit Cuba.

Nieuw Statendam will kick off its maiden Caribbean season with a four-day cruise to the Bahamas in December. Following its inaugural Caribbean sailing, the ship will feature seven-day itineraries that offer both eastern and western routes. Nieuw Statendam also will offer a 10-day itinerary in January for guests interested in exploring lesser-visited ports in the southern Caribbean such as Kralendijk, Bonaire; Amber Cove, Dominican Republic; and Barbados. Other southern Caribbean itineraries will be available on Nieuw Statendam's sister ship, Koningsdam, beginning in November 2018. Cruisers can choose seven-, 10- and 11-day itineraries.

Guests looking to experience the eastern or western regions of the Caribbean can do so aboard Nieuw Amsterdam on a series of seven-day cruises that showcase each region, featuring calls at St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk, Cozumel, Georgetown, Ocho Rios and more. Similarly, Oosterdam will offer a series of seven-day cruises that spotlight both eastern and western routes, as well as seven-day Tropical Caribbean itineraries that feature calls at ports in the Bahamas and Dominican Republic.

Partial Panama Canal Transits Explore Gatún Lake

Guests looking to explore the Panama Canal can experience a partial transit aboard Zuiderdam, sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on 10- and 11-day cruises. The ship visits several Caribbean ports as it makes its way to Gatún Lake, where cruisers will enjoy a day of spectacular scenic cruising throughout the canal.

Roundtrip Tampa Itineraries

From October 2018 through April 2019 Rotterdam will sail roundtrip from Tampa on eight seven-day western itineraries and five 14-day southern itineraries. The ship visits some of the most beautiful ports and islands in the region including Key West; Curaçao; Mahogany Bay, Honduras; Costa Maya, Mexico; Aruba and St. Lucia.

Combine Back-to-Back Cruises to Form Longer Collectors' Voyages

Many of the cruises can be extended into Collectors' Voyages, which offer the ultimate Caribbean exploration with more economical fares than if booking the cruises individually. Ranging from 14 to 21 days, these artfully crafted longer journeys combine back-to-back itineraries, enabling guests to span more than one Caribbean area and have the ultimate island-hopping journey.

Celebrate the Season with a Festive Holiday Cruise

For travelers who like to get away for the winter holidays, a total of 14 holiday sailings will ply the warm waters of the Caribbean on far-reaching itineraries that range from seven to 14 days. Several non-repeating itineraries can be combined to form a longer Holiday Collectors' Voyage that can be extended up to 21 days.

Guests in search of a unique and extended itinerary can opt for Prinsendam's 14-day Caribbean Holiday cruise departing Dec. 21, 2018. The ship calls at ports in the British Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Barbados, Half Moon Cay, the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.

During the holiday cruises, guests can take part in a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, enjoy traditional holiday meals with all of the trimmings and indulge in special holiday events, many with fanciful holiday cookies and pastries. Kids will delight in a visit from Santa Claus and holiday-themed crafts. Hanukkah activities will be available on early December cruises.

The New Year's Eve sailings are the ideal setting to ring in a new year, featuring a festive holiday ball with a Champagne toast.

Cunard Announces New Insights Program
Cunard Cruise Line today announced culturally-rich onboard programming for 2019 voyages as the legendary brand returns to Alaska to offer its iconic experience in 'The Last Frontier.'

Queen Elizabeth will sail four 10-night roundtrip Alaska voyages out of Vancouver departing May 21, 31, June 10 and 20, 2019 with port calls in Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, Icy Strait Point and Victoria. Highlights include scenic cruising through the famous Inside Passage, Tracy Arm Fjord, and Hubbard Glacier.

"For our return to Alaska, Queen Elizabeth will bring Cunard's iconic luxury experience to one of the most magnificent places in the world," said Josh Leibowitz, SVP Cunard North America. "More than our signature Gala evenings and award-winning White Star Service, our team has curated some of the most interesting and engaging speakers to join our Insights program in Alaska. Our guests will have the opportunity to gain a deep understanding about Alaska and its breathtaking landscape, rich cultural heritage and local cuisine."

Cunard's new Alaska Insights programming will include:

• Dr. Rachel Cartwright, an award-winning naturalist with 20 years' experience in Alaska. Author of "Alaska Cruise Companion: A Naturalist's Guide to the Inside Passage" and renowned expert on the behaviors of humpback whale mothers and their calves, Dr. Cartwright will offer presentations on the Alaskan ecosystem including whales, marine life and glaciers. Dr. Cartwright will also offer expert commentary live from the bridge during scenic cruising throughout the Inside Passage on all 2019 Alaska itineraries.

• Alaska Native Voices along with members of the Huna Tinglet tribe, a group native to Glacier Bay and Icy Strait, will offer lectures and workshops about their history, culture, and storytelling while cruising the Alaskan coastline. On all 2019 Alaska voyage, guests will have more opportunity to learn about Alaska's indigenous people at an information center hosted by cultural heritage guides onboard Queen Elizabeth.

• LaDonna Rose Gundersen, commercial fisherwoman and cookbook author, will be sharing her experiences and expertise with guests onboard the May 20, 2019 Alaska voyage (Q915B). A fisherwoman in Alaska for more than two decades, Gundersen has made a career out of catching and cooking delicious salmon and other fish using simple ingredients while at sea. She will be joined by her husband Ole Gundersen, a fellow fisherman and accomplished photographer known for his images inspired by life in Alaska.

Other festivities onboard Queen Elizabeth during her time in Alaska will include:

• Live bridge commentary to narrate scenic cruising areas

• Dedicated Alaska in-room entertainment, including Emmy Award-winning documentary series "The Ketchikan Story"

• Complimentary blankets and hot cocoa on deck for taking in the beauty of the Alaska coastline

Cunard will also offer Rocky Mountaineer rail tours pre- and post- voyage in Alaska, which include either three- or five- nights' accommodation and two full days aboard the train. The expedition travels through a spectacular array of scenery including the glacier and snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies, winding river canyons, mountain passes and remarkable tunnels.

Seabourn Ovation To Call On Exotic Destinations, UNESCO Sites During Asia Cruise Season
Seabourn Cruise Line announced this week that it will return to Asia in late 2018 and early 2019 with an exciting schedule of voyages aboard its newest ship, Seabourn Ovation. From the natural splendors of Vietnam and Thailand to the modern skylines and urban culture of Hong Kong and Singapore, the yacht-like ship will visit an array of exotic destinations and fascinating cities, as well as offer a variety of optional shore excursions and pre- and post-cruise Seabourn Journeys to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, in this inspiring part of the world.

"Asia has so many cities and towns on the must-see list of travelers and it's easy to see why, with its diverse culture, rich history and beautiful landscapes and scenery," said Chris Austin, Seabourn's senior vice president of Global Marketing & Sales. "We designed the voyages for Seabourn Ovation's inaugural season in Asia to take travelers to many of the most intriguing cities, including a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, while sailing on the world's finest resort at sea."

Seabourn Ovation's first season in Asia will begin in Singapore with a series of five 14-day Vietnam & Thailand voyages between Singapore and Hong Kong (departing December 22, 2018, and January 5, January 19, February 16 and March 2, 2019). These itineraries will feature a coveted overnight stay at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's largest city, bustling with culture and French colonial architecture that is also a gateway to a visit on the Mekong Delta. The voyages will also feature the line's popular Caviar in the Surf beach parties at Ko Kood in Thailand, a quaint island with sweeping sand beaches, as well as an extended day at scenic Halong Bay in Vietnam, allowing for optional excursions to the capital city of Hanoi with its blend of Asian and French heritage.

The season will also include a 14-day Gems of the South China Sea voyage from Hong Kong to Singapore (departing February 2, 2019), visiting destinations such as Xiamen, China and an overnight call in Manila, Philippines, providing options for appealing 28-day combo cruises with the Vietnam & Thailand voyages.

Seabourn Ovation is the second of two ships designed by hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany. The ship features all oceanfront suites with private verandas, along with modern design elements and innovations in keeping with Seabourn's reputation for understated elegance, as well as one additional deck, expanded public areas and a brand-new, al fresco dining venue, "Earth & Ocean at The Patio".

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 61.99 + 0.81%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 123.92 + 1.09%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.23 - 7.52%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 53.42 - 0.35%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Very few photographs taken on board the Titanic during her fateful maiden voyage survived the ship's sinking. Name the passenger who contributed the largest collection and how did he or she survive the sinking?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which former cruise ship was severely damaged and almost sank after striking ice in June of 1989?

Answer - The ship involved would have been the Maxim Gorkiy near Spitzbergen.
courtesy of John Cruz


Cruise News - September 3, 2018

AIDA Cruises Introduces AIDAnova
AIDA Cruises, the leading cruise line in Germany, held a naming ceremony to welcome AIDAnova into their fleet – which will debut with innovative guest experience features and as the world's first cruise vessel to be powered at sea and in port by liquefied natural gas (LNG), the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel.

AIDAnova was named on Friday by Sonja (31) and Asad (33) Mirza and their children Sophia (2) and Adrian (3) of Hanau, Germany, who were selected from hundreds of applicants from all over Germany. Held at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg – the first naming of a cruise ship at the shipyard in more than 20 years – the celebration included a first-of-its-kind AIDA Open Air concert featuring a light show, fireworks display and live musical performance with superstar and two-time Grammy winner DJ David Guetta before a sold-out crowd of more than 25,000 with additional viewers tuning in via livestream.

"We are excited to introduce AIDAnova, the first ship of a new generation of vessels for AIDA Cruises that will help us further establish our position as a leader and pioneer in the cruise industry," said Roger Frizzell, chief communications officer for Carnival Corporation. "AIDAnova will provide our guests with among the best in culture, entertainment, sports, wellness and culinary delights, while helping maintain the popularity and growth of AIDA Cruises as the most popular cruise line in Germany."

AIDAnova marks an exciting new generation of ships for AIDA Cruises that combine innovative design with state-of-the-art technology to provide even greater onboard comfort and further enhance the guest experience. Expected to launch in November 2018, AIDAnova will have more than 40 different restaurants and bars on board to provide guests with an opportunity to enjoy a new level of world-class dining experiences and culinary trends.

AIDAnova will also make history as the world's first cruise ship to be powered in port and at sea by liquefied natural gas (LNG), the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel – an innovation that will reduce exhaust emissions to help protect the environment and support Carnival Corporation's aggressive sustainability goals. It is the first of 11 next-generation cruise ships from Carnival Corporation between 2018 and 2025 able to generate their power at sea and in port from LNG.

The LNG ships are part of Carnival Corporation's ongoing fleet enhancement strategy with 20 new vessels scheduled for delivery between 2018 and 2025 – creating excitement in the vacation market and helping the company's brands continue to exceed guest expectations while accelerating demand for cruising, the fastest growing segment in the vacation industry.

Guests can also enjoy versatile entertainment offerings, including the Beach Club and Four Elements adventure deck, complete with three water slides and a climbing garden under the dome of a retractable glass roof, in addition to a new escape room for thrill seekers, a 360-degree Theatrium and Studio X, the brand's first TV studio at sea.

Additional highlights include 20 different stateroom types, ranging from a two-deck penthouse suite to spacious family and patio cabins to comfortable single options with a balcony. The ship will also feature the Body & Soul Spa, spanning two decks and offering 80 treatments from around the world.

AIDAnova will embark on its first voyage at the end of September and will head for Eemshaven in the Netherlands. Once the ship has received its final fittings and has completed various sea trials, AIDAnova will be delivered to AIDA Cruises in an official handover ceremony from the Meyer Werft shipyard on November 15, 2018, in Bremerhaven, Germany. AIDAnova will begin its maiden voyage from Hamburg to the Canary Islands on December 2, 2018.

With its three new LNG ships on the horizon, AIDA Cruises continues to pursue its commitment to "green cruising" and sustainable operations. As of 2023, more than half of AIDA Cruises' guests will be spending their vacation on a cruise ship that runs on LNG. The use of LNG for ship power has a smaller carbon footprint and is the cleanest burning fossil fuel. In addition to pioneering the use of LNG for cruise ships, Carnival Corporation's world's leading cruise lines, including AIDA Cruises, have been industry leaders in utilizing exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) in the small confines of a cruise ship. This is another environmental breakthrough that addresses concerns with sulfur compounds and particulate matter from exhaust. Carnival Corporation has nearly 70 of its over 100 ships outfitted with the systems.

Azamara Pursuit Named In Southampton
Azamara Club Cruises celebrated the addition of Azamara Pursuit to the brand's existing fleet with a festive naming ceremony on board the ship in Southampton, U.K. Azamara Pursuit's two Godmothers – Ellen Asmodeo-Giglio and Lucy Huxley – christened the vessel alongside Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Richard Fain; President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises, Larry Pimentel; and the Board of Directors.

"Since the announcement of Azamara Pursuit in September 2017, we have eagerly awaited this special moment to celebrate the ship's debut," said Larry Pimentel, President & CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. "Azamara Pursuit's two godmothers both have a fearless dedication to adventure, and we could not be more pleased for them to lead us in this ceremony."

Following the naming ceremony, the vessel set sail for a two-night voyage to Cherbourg, France to kick off the festivities with an AzAmazing Afternoon event. Inspired by Azamara's signature AzAmazing Evenings – a complimentary excursion offered to guests to connect them with the local culture and discover the destination's heritage – the afternoon was designed to enable guests to uncover and embrace the true nature of the destination through rare moments that reflect the French town's personality and authentic charm. The celebration began with exploring a quintessential French market that was constructed steps from the gangway and consisted of stalls selling flowers, cheeses & fresh fruits, pastries, French wines, baguettes, and much more. Later in the afternoon, Main Hall at La Cité de la Mar was transformed into a cabaret house where guests enjoyed performances by a 15-piece orchestra, dancers, a solo singer, among others.

Honoring Azamara's commitment to Destination Immersion guests on board also had the opportunity to connect with the local culture from a selection of curated shore programming. Experiences ranged from viewing Bayeux Tapestry – which depicts the events leading up to Norman conquest of England – and Panoramic Cherbourg, offering views of the city's most historic landmarks, including Abbey of Our Lady of the Vow, a 12th century Catholic monastery and former marine hospital.

The voyage concluded with a White Night celebration, an evening soirée where cruisers can enjoy a feast served poolside by Azamara's officers and crew before dancing late into the night.

Azamara Pursuit will now journey from Southampton, U.K. to Barcelona, Spain on a 13-Night Wine & Romance Voyage.

A Royal Princess is Coming to Los Angeles
Princess Cruises started with a single ship sailing out of the Port of Los Angeles to Mexico in 1965. In 200 days, the cruise line welcomes Royal Princess, one of its new large ships recognized around the world for having been officially named in 2013 by Her Royal Highness, Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge. Royal Princess will arrive with great fanfare to the City of Angels and embark on her maiden voyage to the Mexican Riviera on March 23, 2019.

"The anticipation of the arrival of Royal Princess is growing as we officially announce the 200-day countdown that will welcome one of our newest, most elegant ships in our global fleet to the U.S. west coast and long-term home at the Port of Los Angeles," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "Now guests have the opportunity to experience this exquisite floating resort, our world-class service and best-in-class dining to sought-after destinations like the Mexican Riviera, California Coast, Hawaii and Alaska."

The 3,560-guest Royal Princess first debuted in Southampton in June 2013 and was officially christened by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge. Significant to this ceremony was the fact that her mother-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales, christened the original Royal Princess in 1984.

Award-winning features aboard Royal Princess include the large atrium or "Piazza," offering enticing entertainment and culinary delights; the overwater SeaWalk – a 60-foot-long glass walkway standing 128 feet above the ocean; an expansive Lotus Spa with The Enclave, home to Princess' largest-ever thermal suite and a dramatic hydro-therapy pool with a cascading rain shower and therapeutic air jets as well as an array of services and secluded couples treatment rooms; a live television studio; adults-only Retreat Pool and Sanctuary; and newly re-branded Camp Discovery youth center.

Before Royal Princess makes her West Coast debut, the ship will undergo a "wet dock" renovation and receive several new features, including new equipment in the Lotus Spa and fitness center as well as the arrival of the cruise line's recognized "Princess Luxury Bed," created in collaboration with board-certified Sleep Doctor Michael Breus and HGTV Designer Candice Olson to all cabins.

Guests sailing aboard Royal Princess can also marvel at the "Royal" display case, featuring memorabilia from the naming ceremony with The Duchess of Cambridge, including the scissors and rope she used to officially send the ceremonial bottle of Champagne smashing against the ship's hull, a replica of the Champagne bottle, several photos and even a copy of the Dalmatian-print dress she wore by British designer Hobbs.

Recently named "Top Cruise Line in the Mexican Riviera" in Cruise Critic's Cruisers' Choice Destination Awards, Royal Princess will sail on a series of cruises from Los Angeles (San Pedro) to the Mexican Riviera with port calls in Mazatlán, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas, giving cruisers the chance to experience the local vibrant culture and flavors. Inaugural spring 2019 voyages include:

• March 23, 2019

• March 30, 2019

• April 6, 2019

• April 13, 2019

• April 20, 2019

• April 27, 2019

From Los Angeles, Royal Princess will sail up the Pacific Coast on a seven-day Coastal voyage departing May 4, 2019 to Vancouver to begin her maiden voyages to bucket-list destination Alaska.

The Alaska season begins on May 11, 2019 and Royal Princess will offer 18 "Voyage of the Glaciers," seven-day cruises, sailing between Vancouver and Anchorage (Whittier) with port stops in Ketchikan, Skagway and Juneau with scenic cruising in Glacier Bay National Park, plus an additional glacier viewing experience at either Hubbard Glacier or College Fjord. Guests can also spend time in the interior of Alaska with a variety of cruisetour offerings, with stays at Princess Wilderness Lodges and visit Denali National Park. In 2019, Princess Cruises celebrates 50 years of cruising in Alaska and takes more guests to the Great Land than any other cruise line.

Royal Princess will depart Vancouver on September 14, 2019 on a three-day Coastal cruise, returning to Los Angeles on September 17, 2019 to offer a 12-day roundtrip cruise to Alaska, including Glacier Bay. September 29, 2019 marks the return of Royal Princess to Los Angeles for cruises to the Mexican Riviera with several five-, seven- and 10-day options; seven-day California Coastal cruises and shorter four-day West Coast Getaway voyages, visiting Catalina Island.

Royal Princess ends her 2019/2020 season with a seven-day Pacific Wine Country cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver departing on May 9, 2020.

Norwegian Sun Completes First Season of Cruises to Cuba from Port Canaveral
Norwegian Sun will complete her first season of cruises to Cuba from Port Canaveral, Florida with her last sailing on September 3, 2018 before she moves to Miami, Florida for select sailings then repositioning to South America for her fall/winter season.

The first and only homeported ship to cruise to Cuba from Port Canaveral, Norwegian Sun, during her summer season, welcomed over 30,000 guests on 15 voyages on her four-day Cuba cruise itinerary with port of calls in Key West and an overnight in Havana. The final, and 16th sailing to Cuba from Port Canaveral, departs September 3rd for a five-day voyage to Key West, an overnight in Havana and a visit to Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas.

Following this successful first season, Norwegian Sun will return to Port Canaveral in April 2019 with even more Cuba itineraries, offering travelers the chance to experience the warm culture and people of the Caribbean island through a variety of Office of Foreign Assets Control compliant excursions available through Norwegian Cruise Line.

“Since we first sailed to Cuba in 2017 from Miami, it has become one of our most popular destinations,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “Norwegian Sun last homeported in Port Canaveral in the 2011/2012 fall/winter season and we were excited to return and showcase her latest enhancements and offer a new itinerary in the region.”

“We’re very proud of the success of the Norwegian Sun sailings from Port Canaveral and thrilled that Norwegian Cruise Line has chosen to continue its very popular Cuba itineraries from here,” said Captain John Murray, chief executive officer of Port Canaveral. “This important decision by Norwegian to bring Norwegian Sun ‘back home’ to our port validates our commitment to meeting the needs and expectations of our valued cruise partners.”

Port Canaveral was Norwegian Sun’s first homeport, following a three-week, bow-to-stern renovation in April in Victoria, BC as part of The Norwegian Edge®, the company’s program designed to elevate the standard of excellence across its fleet. Built in 2001, Norwegian now features refreshed staterooms and public spaces, and boasts three new venues including Los Lobos Cantina, a Mexican restaurant offering a modern take on traditional favorites; Bliss Ultra Lounge, a new bar and nightclub; and Spinnaker Lounge, featuring a larger than life dance floor.

All 968 staterooms were upgraded with smart televisions and USB ports as well as new carpet, artwork and select furniture. The newly revitalized accommodations pay tribute to the beauty of the surrounding ocean with a palette of cool blue hues and silver and turquoise accents. The abstract art within the staterooms and suites are the ideal complement to the new and modern feel.

The renovations also touched dining outlets and public spaces including Cagney’s, La Cucina, Le Bistro, Teppanyaki, the Mandara Spa, Stardust Lounge Theater, Splash Academy and more.

Carnival 'Homeport Advantage' Campaign Feature A 128-Foot-Long Carnival AirShip
Carnival Cruise Line took to the sky today with the Carnival AirShip - a massive 128-foot-long red, white, and blue blimp that takes center stage as part of the line's innovative Homeport Advantage campaign, designed to raise awareness of new cruise ship deployments in several key markets along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.

The AirShip made its aerial debut today at Carnival's Sixth Annual Day of Play at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. – the first stop in a 30-day airborne journey across seven U.S. states. After departing Memphis, the AirShip will proceed to Dallas before heading down to Houston then continue the journey with visits to homeports in Galveston, New Orleans, Mobile, Tampa, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral, Jacksonville and Charleston before ending in Atlanta.

As part of the campaign, consumers will have a chance to win free cruises, Carnival swag, VIP event passes and Carnival cruise gift cards when they take a picture or video of the AirShip and post it on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with the hashtag #ChooseFun. The hashtag will also trigger a donation to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital , Carnival's longtime charitable partner.

"Carnival is America's Cruise Line and what better way to showcase our new offerings in popular homeports like Galveston, Port Canaveral and Miami than with our very own AirShip that highlights our #ChooseFun tagline while supporting the special kids at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

As part of its journey, the Carnival Airship will stop in Miami on Sept. 20 to welcome the new Carnival Horizon to its year-round homeport. Shipboard festivities will include fun events hosted by NBA Hall of Famer and Carnival Chief Fun Officer Shaquille O'Neal and featuring Miami Heat players.

The Homeport Advantage campaign is also designed to raise awareness for the incredible variety of Carnival's U.S. embarkation options, with 18 year-round and seasonal ports – the most in cruising – along the East and West Coasts and the Gulf of Mexico. Roughly half of the U.S. population is within a day's drive of a Carnival homeport, providing convenience and affordability to vacationers.

Four ships will be arriving at new homeports in September, providing consumers with fresh and exciting ways to Choose Fun and create a lifetime of wonderful vacation memories. The new ships and itineraries include:

• Carnival Horizon (Miami): Carnival's newest ship that made her U.S. debut in New York in May will launch year-round home six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises from Miami beginning Sept. 22 following a special two-day cruise to Nassau Sept. 20. Carnival Horizon introduced several new innovations, including the first-ever Dr. Seuss water park, Guy Fieri's Bar-B-Que Smokehouse | Brewhouse with BBQ favorites from Food Network star and longtime Carnival partner Guy Fieri, and the line's first teppanyaki venue.

• Carnival Vista (Galveston): Launched in 2016, Carnival Vista brings Texas-sized fun to Galveston with such popular features as the groundbreaking aerial attraction SkyRide, an IMAX theatre, Family Harbor staterooms and suites, and a Cuban-themed Havana section with its own pool and bar. Carnival Vista kicks off her new year-round sailing seven-day Caribbean schedule from Galveston Sept. 23.

• Carnival Breeze (Port Canaveral): Bringing a whole new level of excitement to the Space Coast, Carnival Breeze will offer a diverse Caribbean schedule from Port Canaveral with seven-day and 14-day itineraries starting Sept. 30. Popular features on Carnival Breeze include a massive WaterWorks aqua park, the interactive Thrill Theater, and delicious dining options ranging from casual options like Guy's Burger Joint to the exquisite Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse.

• Carnival Magic (Miami): Also new to Miami is Carnival Magic, which kicks off a new schedule of week-long Caribbean cruises Sept. 30. Guests sailing on this "Fun Ship" favorite can enjoy such features as a Serenity adults-only retreat, a luxurious Cloud 9 Spa, the Caribbean-inspired Red Frog Pub and the Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 61.49 - 0.34%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 122.58 + 2.17%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.33 + 1.53%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 53.61 + 0.34%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which former cruise ship was severely damaged and almost sank after striking ice in June of 1989?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which former cargo liner built in 1958 ended her career as a land-locked hotel in Kuwait City, Kuwait?

Answer - The ship would be the SANTA PAULA which was built in 1958 by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. for the Grace Line of NY. She ended her days as a hotel in Kuwait City eventually being destroyed there by the retreating Iraqis after during the Gulf War.

Her sister was the SANTA ROSA which went on to become the EMERALD owned by Louis Cruises but operated by Thompson Holidays (note: she has been so drastically rebuilt as to be unrecognizable as her former self.)
courtesy of M. Dunatov


Cruise News - August 27, 2018

Holland America Line's Nieuw Statendam Successfully Completes Sea Trials
Holland America Line's Nieuw Statendam, the second Pinnacle Class ship in the fleet, returned to Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard in Italy Wednesday, Aug. 22, after successfully completing two sets of sea trials off the coast.

Nieuw Statendam left Marghera Aug. 10 and performed the first set of sea trials over two days before going into dry dock at Fincantieri's Trieste shipyard, where the trial's data was reviewed and standard hull maintenance was performed. The ship sailed its second sea trials Aug. 18, making its way back to Marghera Aug. 22 where the finishing touches will be completed.

"The sea trials are a highly anticipated milestone for any newbuild because it takes us one step closer to delivery, and we're thrilled that Nieuw Statendam gave a strong performance out in open water," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "There's a lot of buzz surrounding Nieuw Statendam and the innovations we're introducing on board. The ship is going to have an exciting debut in early December."

During the sea trials, Nieuw Statendam underwent a series of performance tests on the ship's systems, machinery and engines. The shipyard's team of nautical officers, naval architects and builders tested the ship's maneuvering characteristics and safety systems.

Due for delivery Dec. 1, 2018, Nieuw Statendam will explore the Caribbean in winter and then move to northern Europe, Iceland and the Mediterranean in summer during its inaugural year. The 2,666-guest, 99,500-ton ship will reflect the ongoing evolution of Holland America Line. From familiar elements that reflect a rich heritage and classic style to state-of-the-art enhancements that chart a bold new course forward, guests on board Nieuw Statendam will delight in details that are artfully inspired and perfectly presented to create the ultimate Pinnacle-class experience.

While much of the ship's design will be similar to Koningsdam, the first Pinnacle Class ship, Nieuw Statendam will have exclusive public spaces and its own style created by leading hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and designer and architect Bjørn Storbraaten. The ship will feature all of the hallmarks of Pinnacle-Class design: grand, light-filled spaces; visual drama; and sumptuous interiors inspired by the fluid curves of musical instruments.

Holland America Line's first ship to be called Statendam sailed in 1898, and this will be the sixth ship in the company's history to carry the name. In combining the Dutch word for "new" with the classic "Statendam," Holland America Line celebrates the company's past, present and future.

Girl Power! First Female Cruise Director/Entertainment Director Duo Named for New Carnival Panorama
Carnival Cruise Line has announced that for the first time ever, a female cruise director and entertainment director tandem will bring out a new ship – Carnival Panorama, set to debut in December 2019. British-born Emma Nixon will serve as cruise director and Canadian native Brittany Boyd entertainment director when the 133,500-ton cruise ship sets sail next year from Long Beach, Calif., becoming Carnival’s first new ship homeported on the West Coast in more than 20 years.

The dynamic duo will lead all of the ship’s fantastic entertainment offerings, everything from legendary deck parties to audience favorites Hasbro, The Game Show; Lip Sync Battle; and, of course, the hilarious performances at the Punchliner Comedy Club and new Playlist Productions shows created especially for Carnival Panorama.

A six-year Carnival veteran, Nixon joined as a member of the Fun Squad and quickly moved up the ranks within the entertainment department serving as comedy club manager and assistant cruise director before being named cruise director of Carnival Spirit in 2015. Known for her positive nature and infectious laugh, Emma’s role as cruise director is to create the fun, spirited environment on board and make sure that guests go home with a lifetime of wonderful vacation memories.

Boyd joined Carnival in 2011 as a Fun Squad Host and was named entertainment director in 2014. As Carnival Panorama’s entertainment director, Boyd will oversee all of the ship’s entertainment and will put her incredible organizational skills and keen attention to detail, planning, organizing and scheduling the literally hundreds of activity and entertainment choices that will be featured during its week-long cruises.

“Emma and Brittany are both high-energy and engaging women who will do an absolutely fantastic job overseeing all of the exciting entertainment choices that will be featured aboard the spectacular Carnival Panorama,” said Sarah Reno, vice president of entertainment for Carnival Cruise Line. “Fun and laughter are part of our DNA and these two incredible women are the ideal candidates to lead our amazing entertainment team on board.”

Nixon and Boyd will join the nearly 1,400 team members who will travel to Italy to prepare the ship for its Dec. 11, 2019, maiden voyage from the renovated Long Beach Cruise Terminal, home to three year-round Carnival Cruise Line ships and hosting upwards of 600,000 guests a year.

The third in the line’s highly successful Vista-class, Carnival Panorama, like its name implies, will offer popular venues offering both indoor and al fresco experiences, including the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Bonsai Sushi and Bonsai Teppanyaki and Guy Fieri’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse, among others, along with fun, open-air attractions like the groundbreaking SkyRide, a massive WaterWorks aqua park, and the SportSquare recreation area featuring a suspended ropes course.

Guests can also choose from an array of stateroom offerings, including vibrant Havana tropics-inspired staterooms with access to a Cuban-themed bar and pool, the Family Harbor featuring extra-roomy accommodations, the Family Harbor Lounge and the luxurious Cloud 9 Spa. Several innovations unique to this vessel are expected to be announced in the coming months.

Following its inaugural three-day voyage departing Dec. 11, 2019, Carnival Panorama will launch year-round seven-day cruises Dec. 14, 2019 departing every Saturday to stunning seaside destinations along the Mexican Riviera, including Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta.

Holland America Line Promotes Kim Leaming
Holland America Line has promoted Kim Leaming to director, direct marketing and integrated planning. In her expanded role, Leaming will oversee the development of an ongoing integrated marketing plan aligning multiple channels. She also will maintain responsibility for Holland America Line’s direct marketing program, Mariner Society communications and global promotions.

Leaming is based in the cruise line’s Seattle headquarters and continues to report to Joseph Slattery, senior vice president, global marketing and sales for Holland America Line.

“Since joining Holland America Line, Kim has consistently demonstrated her capability and leadership skills that continue to enhance the strategic direction of our brand,” said Slattery. “Kim has embraced every stepping-stone in her career with aptitude and expertise, and we congratulate her on this well-deserved promotion.”

Leaming holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Washington, and she joined Holland America Line in 2011 as manager, direct marketing. Prior to this she was director of marketing at Cruise West as well as at Majestic America Line. She also has worked in the digital space at Rivals.com and with sports cable television at FOX Sports Net.

Royal Caribbean Asking Youth To Submit Designs For Cruise Ship Of The Future
To celebrate its strong culture of innovation and imagination, Royal Caribbean International is calling out to budding designers to submit their vision of a cruise ship of the future in its first ever nationwide design competition, and stand a chance to win cruise holidays and cash prizes up to SGD $5,000.

Open to tertiary students nationwide till 28 September, Royal Caribbean’s ‘Brainwaves: Reimagining the Future of Cruising’ invites contestants to conceptualise and develop never before seen, innovative ideas for a cruise ship that would appeal to the next generation. Submissions need to showcase futuristic features covering the three key aspects of a cruise holiday – entertainment, activities and accommodation.

Royal Caribbean, a leading brand in pushing boundaries with the most innovative fleet at sea, hopes to inspire students to give new thinking to a travel category that has been rapidly evolving over the last decade, while supporting Singapore’s ongoing drive to instil creativity in its young.

Royal Caribbean’s Managing Director, Asia-Pacific, Angie Stephen said, “Cruising has transformed well beyond the basic pools, buffet restaurants and theatres. Skydiving at sea, robotic bartenders, virtual balconies and smart features are just a few of the latest innovations you can expect today from a Royal Caribbean cruise, and we believe nothing is impossible when it comes to the holiday of the future.”

“Which is why with Brainwaves, we are excited to see what the youths of today can come up with in terms of innovative and creative features, and showcase where their imagination can take them when it comes to the cruise holiday of tomorrow. Our ship is their canvas.”

The inaugural competition has also appointed local architect and TV host, Khairudin Saharom, as Brainwaves’ ambassador and face of the competition. Mr Khairudin will also be part of the final judging panel to determine the winning design.

Mr Khairudin said, “As an architect, I recognise the profound effect good design can have on a space and how people experience it. Whether it is on land or sea, it is important to strike a balance between form and function. I am confident that our young designers will be able to pull together some truly compelling ideas.”

From all the submissions, five finalists will be selected to go forward in pitching their ideas before a judging panel consisting of Royal Caribbean’s senior management and Mr Khairudin on 15 October. The Grand Prize will feature an Asian cruise for two on Royal Caribbean’s upcoming new ship Spectrum of the Seas and a SGD$ 5,000 cash prize.

To find out more, visit www.brainwavessg.com for competition details, and follow Royal Caribbean on Facebook for regular updates.

Disney Parks Moms Panel Kicks Off 2019 Search Sept. 5, 2018
Calling all vacationers who know a thing or two about the power of magic: The Disney Parks Moms Panel is looking for you! Entering its 12th year, the search for the Disney Parks Moms Panel (www.DisneyParksMomsPanel.com) will be open Sept. 5-12, 2018, inviting park-savvy Disney buffs to apply for a coveted spot to serve on the popular online forum. Disney welcomes dads, moms, in-the-know family members and anyone who feels they’ve spent as much time at a Disney park as Mickey Mouse himself to apply at www.momspanelsearch.com for a chance to be a part of the magic.

The Disney Parks Moms Panel is an online resource comprised of everyday parents, grandparents and even adults without kids who share first-hand advice with those planning a Disney vacation, while offering personal guidance on any and all topics surrounding Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club and beyond. The panel offers recommendations on vacation “musts” and information on a variety of Disney experiences and activities, such as identifying the most incredible experiences for toddlers at Disneyland Resort’s new Pixar Pier, recommendations on what to order at Woody’s Lunch Box in the newly opened Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World Resort, or how to uncover the best snorkeling spots on Disney Cruise Line’s private island, Castaway Cay. New this year, the Disney Parks Moms Panel will be more accessible than ever with answers optimized for search engines and home assistant devices – a first for Disney Parks and Resorts – allowing the panelists to reach even more Disney guests around the world.

“My passion for creating epic Disney getaways led me to the Disney Parks Moms Panel,” said Jerry M., one of the Disney dads on the panel. “The magic of the Disney Parks Moms Panel is our collective experience and our diverse backgrounds coming together that make this panel so informative. Our mission is to be everyone’s trusted guides when it comes to planning a Disney vacation, offering heartfelt advice from our own experiences. Together, as a panel, we’ve just about done it all!”

“It is truly rewarding to see Disney guests come together and share their personal stories and experiences in an effort to help others plan a memorable Disney vacation,” said Leanne O’Regan, Director of Public Relations for Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products. “For 12 years, the Disney Parks Moms Panel has helped millions of people around the world plan outstanding Disney vacations with over 250,000 questions and answers available at any given time, all thanks to the impressive group of panelists who are chosen each year. We encourage those who have a passion for sharing their knowledge on all things Disney Parks to be our guest and apply to the 2019 Disney Parks Moms Panel!”

Applications for the 2019 Disney Parks Moms Panel will be accepted from noon EDT on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018, through noon EDT on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. To apply, visit www.momspanelsearch.com. The application process includes a series of short-answer questions, a brief video submission and a phone interview over three rounds. The 2019 Disney Parks Moms Panelists will be announced in January. Applicants selected must be available to attend a training session at Walt Disney World Resort from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, 2018. Panelists are selected based on their wealth of Disney knowledge, as well as their ability to communicate authentic answers to those seeking assistance for their upcoming trips.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 61.70 + 1.56%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 119.98 + 2.71%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.31 + 0.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 53.43 + 0.66%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which former cargo liner built in 1958 ended her career as a land-locked hotel in Kuwait City, Kuwait?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which cruise ship started her career running cruise/ferry service between New York and the Bahamas?

Answer - The ship would be the SANTA PAULA which was built in 1958 by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. for the Grace Line of NY. She ended her days as a hotel in Kuwait City eventually being destroyed there by the retreating Iraqis after during the Gulf War.

Her sister was the SANTA ROSA which went on to become the EMERALD owned by Louis Cruises but operated by Thompson Holidays (note: she has been so drastically rebuilt as to be unrecognizable as her former self.)
courtesy of M. Dunatov


Cruise News - August 20, 2018

Crystal Endeavor’s Keel Laying Marks Next Construction Milestone
Today, Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises celebrated the next important milestone in the construction of Crystal Endeavor as the keel was laid at MV WERFTEN’s Stralsund shipyard for the company’s first luxury expedition yacht.

During the special ceremony, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, in her role as a member of the German Bundestag, joined Crystal President and CEO Tom Wolber and Genting Hong Kong's Executive Chairman and CEO Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, as well as Mecklenburg Western Pomerania’s Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig for the festivities. Also in attendance were Minister of Economic Affairs Harry Glawe and CEO and President of MV WERFTEN Peter Fetten as well as hundreds of MV WERFTEN team members clad in “Team Endeavor” shirts, showing their enthusiasm and anticipation of the grand vessel they will help build. Once the traditional lucky coins had been put into place, the 400-ton section was lowered onto the keel blocks.

“It is truly a thrill to mark this important milestone for Crystal Endeavor and the entire Crystal Family, as this yacht will change the way guests can explore the world both adventurously and luxuriously,” Wolber said. “I am honored to share this occasion with Chancellor Merkel, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay and our special guests as well as the skilled workers of MV WERFTEN who are building this game-changing ship.”

“The keel laying of Crystal Endeavor here in my political hometown of Stralsund marks a special moment for me that is doubly significant,” said Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel. “Today, the foundation has been laid for this highly sophisticated, state-of-the-art cruise ship. But the ceremony itself, which is taking place in the lively shipyard with the participation of so many employees and trainees, also bodes well for the future of shipbuilding in the Hanseatic City of Stralsund and in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.”

Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay said, “We are delighted with the success and progress of the Crystal fleet and continue to share the company’s vision for expanding the choices for travelers around the world. Crystal Endeavor is a ship like no other, and will take travelers on journeys unlike any they’ve ever experienced.”

“MV WERFTEN breaks new ground with Crystal Endeavor. We wish the company great success in building this ship and other ships of its class, the construction of which safeguards and creates jobs in the shipyards of Wismar, Stralsund, and Warnemünde,” said Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig during her address.

The 20,000 GRT yacht will be the world's largest and most spacious purpose-built Polar Class ship. Crystal Endeavor will feature 100 suites and all the luxurious amenities and special touches for which Crystal is known. The yacht will boast generous public spaces, a full-service spa & salon, six restaurants including Nobu Matsuhisa’s Umi Uma, expedition rooms and elegant suites that contrast beautifully with the rugged adventures beyond the vessel. Crystal Endeavor’s accommodations will offer private butler service for every suite and feature luxurious touches including king-sized beds, walk-in closets; heated storage for drying parkas; spa-like bathrooms with adjustable heated floors, dual vanities, anti-fog mirrors and rain-showerheads.

Crystal Endeavor’s PC6 designation will enable her to operate in summer and autumn through medium first-year ice. The ship will feature the latest technology, including offshore dynamic positioning capabilities, offering both comfort and safety while exploring the icy waters in the Polar Regions and exotic locations across the globe.

Crystal unveiled the itineraries for Crystal Endeavor’s inaugural season on July 31, spanning from August of 2020 through January 2021, offering voyages of 12 to 22 days far off the beaten path of traditional cruise routes. Voyages rich with discovery will explore the cultural and bio-diversity of Japan and the Russian Far East; Indonesia, Borneo and the Philippines; New Zealand and Tasmania; Australia and the Great Barrier Reef; and Antarctica. The ship will sail a series of charters and special event voyages before it begins its inaugural season in August 2020.

P&O Australia Sells Pacific Jewel; Golden Princess Joining Fleet
P&O Cruises Australia announced today a second Grand Class ship will join the family while bidding farewell to one of its “jewels” as part of the cruise line’s commitment to refresh the fleet over time.

Carrying more than 3,100 guests, Star Princess will join her sister ship, Golden Princess, in the P&O Cruises Australia fleet from the end of 2021. Star Princess will replace the much-loved and considerably smaller Pacific Jewel, which will leave P&O Cruises in March next year, by which time she will have served the brand for almost 10 years.

President of P&O Cruises and Carnival Australia, Sture Myrmell, said welcoming two Grand Class ships – Star Princess and Golden Princess – was part of the evolution of the P&O Cruises fleet.

In September last year, P&O Cruises announced its plan to refresh its fleet over time, continuing to evolve the guest experience and creating economies of scale necessary to compete effectively in today’s environment.

“Pacific Jewel has been a jewel by name and by nature. I feel sentimental farewelling a much-loved ship but excited for the future because the addition of two bigger ships is a game-changer for P&O Cruises and its guests,” Mr Myrmell said.

“P&O Cruises is all about offering a great value cruise holiday that celebrates modern Australia across food, entertainment, activities and service delivered in a contemporary setting. We are ensuring P&O Cruises has the right ships for a contemporary brand operating in a competitive market.”

Mr Myrmell said P&O Cruises would continue to base ships year-round in its key homeports of Sydney and Brisbane as well as offering seasonal sailings from other Australian states and New Zealand.

A transformed Golden Princess will join the P&O Cruises fleet in October 2020 while her sister ship, Star Princess, will join P&O Cruises at the end of 2021. Pacific Jewel’s final voyage will depart from Melbourne on 24 February, 2019 before being transferred to a new operator following her sale.

P&O Cruises will assist guests affected by deployment changes to make alternative arrangements, including their choice of:

• Rebooking on equivalent or near equivalent cruises on other P&O Cruises’ ships

• Offering a choice of alternative cruises on other ships in the P&O Cruises’ fleet where a near equivalent match is not possible

• Providing a full refund to guests for whom no alternative cruise choice is suitable (any guest whose cruise is cancelled can choose to obtain a full refund).

• P&O Cruises will contact all guests over the coming weeks to provide further information on alternative options. “We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause some guests and will work hard to find alternatives for those whose holiday plans are affected. We also thank guests for their patience because it is likely to take some weeks to put everything in place but we hope this good news will be well received by our loyal guests,” Mr Myrmell said.

Dedicated telephone and email channels have been established for guests who have questions related to an affected cruise:

Australia Phone line: 1300 550 491
New Zealand Phone line: 0800 543 177
Email Address: cruiseupdates@pocruises.com.au

Princess Cruises Reveals Name of Fifth Royal-Class Ship
As Princess Cruises' fleet expansion continues, the cruise line reveals the name of the ship it will launch in 2020 – Enchanted Princess.

Enchanted Princess is scheduled to debut on June 15, 2020 sailing on a series of European voyages. Bookings for her maiden season, summer 2020, will open on November 8, 2018.

"The name Enchanted Princess is captivating and conveys the elegance and grace of our new ship which will introduce more travellers to the pleasures and value of cruising," said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. "We are certain Enchanted Princess will exceed the expectations of our guests, ensuring they have the most memorable cruise vacation."

Ms. Swartz said Princess has the strongest pipeline of premium new ship builds in the world. The arrival of Enchanted Princess will be followed by the debut of the sixth Royal-Class vessel for Princess Cruises in 2022. The cruise line also has two new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) powered ships on order, bringing its new ship order to five ships in six years.

Construction of the 143,700-ton, 3,660-passenger Enchanted Princess will take place in the Fincantieri Monfalcone shipyard with the ship set to feature an evolution of the design platform used for the cruise line's previous Royal-Class ships.

Norwegian Cruise Line Continues to Raise the Bar For Its Beverage Program at Sea
Norwegian Cruise Line was once again celebrated for its distinguished onboard beverage program with Norwegian Bliss’ head mixologist named as one of the 2018 Diageo Global Travel’s Best Bartenders, and Norwegian Escape’s upscale steakhouse Cagney’s recognized with the “Award of Excellence” by Wine Spectator.

The accolades were announced in advance of the cruise line’s third season of Meet the Winemaker cruises available on select ships and itineraries now through February 16, 2019.

Head mixologist, Razvan Dorel Cordea, of the recently debuted Norwegian Bliss, was one of three cruise industry professionals recognized as a “2018 Diageo Global Travel’s Best Bartender” and as a semi-finalist for “2018 Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year.” After successfully completing two challenges during the semifinals in Miami, Cordea will represent Norwegian Cruise Line at the global finals in Berlin on October 5-8, 2018. There, he will compete against 50 of the world’s best bartenders. This is the third time Norwegian Cruise Line has been represented at this prestigious beverage competition.

The carefully crafted wine selection at Cagney’s on Norwegian Escape was also recognized by Wine Spectator with the “Award of Excellence.” A celebrated favorite among guests, Cagney’s is Norwegian Cruise Line’s classic American-style steakhouse featuring mouthwatering, premium meats and delectable sides including parmesan truffle fries and caramelized Brussel sprouts. To complement the decadent dishes, the wine selection has been fashioned to include over 100 selections from 30 regions around the globe.

“Gastronomy has become such an important element of traveling today that we are more committed than ever to exceptional culinary experiences across our 16-ship fleet,” said Wes Cort, vice president of food and beverage at Norwegian Cruise Line. “I’m proud of our creative and innovative teams both on land and sea who are dedicated to curating programs and partnerships that our guests will remember and look forward to time and again.”

The accolades were announced as in advance of Norwegian Cruise Line’s third season of Meet the Winemaker cruises, which invite guests sailing on select itineraries on Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Dawn, to participate in a robust program of private wine dinners and tastings, seminars and meet-and-greets with experts in the winemaking industry, including Salvatore Ferragamo, Rob Mondavi Jr., and Gerard Bertrand.

“Last season was such a success that we are thrilled to bring back this series of incredible wine cruises,” said Mark Kansley, senior vice president of hotel operations at Norwegian Cruise Line. “It has been a great honor to collaborate with these remarkable industry visionaries and provide an innovative culinary program and a one-of-a-kind cruise experience to our guests.”

Guests have several opportunities to engage with winemakers and other experts through a variety of enriching seminars and activities including open-forum question and answer sessions and meet-and-greets. For a more intimate experience, guided wine tastings, wine-paired dinners and educational seminars are available in The Cellars, A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar and are hosted by the guest winemaker or expert on board. Guests learn about the featured wines through an interactive session where they’ll share tasting notes and learn how best to complement them. The experience features vintages chosen by the expert and brought on board for these exclusive events. The wine tastings are available at $19.95 per person plus tax and gratuity, and the exclusive five-course, wine-paired dinner available for $60 per person plus tax and gratuity. Seating is limited for both the tasting and wine pairing dinners so reservations are highly encouraged and available once on board the ship.

The 2018/19 Meet the Winemaker series will be featured on the following sailings:

• September 23, 2018 on Norwegian Escape -- Aarón Sánchez, celebrity chef and James Beard award winner, is the official ambassador and spokesperson for Moët-Hennessy’s Argentinian wine, Terrazas De Los Andes

• October 12, 2018 on Norwegian Dawn -- Dina Mondavi, daughter of Isabel and Michael Mondavi, represents four generations of winemaking with Michael Mondavi Family Estate

• October 27, 2018 on Norwegian Bliss -- Salvatore Ferragamo, heir of famed Italian fashion house and owner of Il Borro Winery in Tuscany, Italy

• December 8, 2018 on Norwegian Bliss -- Bob Bertheau, head winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle, has maintained the vineyard’s legacy of crafting awarding-winning Chardonnay, Riesling, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, while putting his own signature on the wines

• January 12, 2019 on Norwegian Bliss -- Juan Munoz Oca, head winemaker at Columbia Crest produces the winery’s portfolio of Reserve, H3, and Grand Estates wines

• February 16, 2019 on Norwegian Bliss -- Gerard Bertrand is the renowned vintner of Languedoc-Roussillo

Meet the Winemaker cruises onNorwegian Bliss take place on the seven-day itineraries to Alaska from Seattle during the summer months, the Mexican Riviera in the fall from Los Angeles and the Eastern Caribbean from Miami in the winter. On Norwegian Escape, the cruises are available on itineraries from New York,and on Norwegian Dawn, they are available on seven-day itineraries from Boston to Canada and New England offering guests a beautiful way to witness the fall foliage.

Carnival Cruise Line and Canaveral Port Authority Reach Agreement on New Cruise Terminal
Carnival Cruise Line, the world’s largest cruise operator, has reached an agreement in principle with the Canaveral Port Authority on a new state-of-the-art terminal able to accommodate its new 180,000-ton ship, the largest ever constructed for the line, set to debut in 2020.

The terms of the agreement are expected to be included on the agenda of the Canaveral Port Authority Board of Commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. If approved, the agreement will clear the way for Carnival Cruise Line’s plans to homeport the as-yet-unnamed 5,286-lower berth ship at Port Canaveral, further bolstering the line’s position as the port’s number one cruise operator.

The vessel will offer an array of groundbreaking, never-before-seen features and attractions while also being the first North American-based cruise ship to be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), part of Carnival Corporation’s “green cruising” design platform.

“We are very excited about the prospects of homeporting our largest ship at Port Canaveral, a valued business partner for more than 25 years,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Easily accessible from all over the southeast with excellent facilities and friendly staff, Port Canaveral is one of our most popular and fastest-growing homeports. This fantastic new ship, coupled with our future plans for Port Canaveral, will provide guests with an unparalleled seagoing vacation experience from the minute they arrive. ”

“The Port and Carnival Cruise Line have worked closely for decades building a successful partnership together. We are proud of our partners at Carnival and eager to begin this new chapter in our business relationship,” said Canaveral Port Authority Port Director and CEO Capt. John Murray. “Carnival’s commitment to Port Canaveral demonstrates their confidence in our ability to support one of the world’s most successful cruise brands. We’re excited and looking forward to having their largest and newest class of ship homeported here.”

Construction of the 180,000-ton cruise ship is scheduled to begin in November 2018 with the official steel-cutting ceremony at the Meyer-Werft shipyard in Turku, Finland. Further ship details, along with itineraries from Port Canaveral, are expected to be announced in 2019.

The decision to base the new ship on the Space Coast continues a decades-long relationship and reinforces Carnival Cruise Line’s position as Port Canaveral’s number one cruise operator. The line currently has three year-round ships based in Port Canaveral carrying upwards of 650,000 passengers a year. In October, Carnival Cruise Line will also reposition the newer Carnival Breeze to homeport at Port Canaveral.

Norwegian Escape Lights Up the Stage with Broadway Star Power
Norwegian Cruise Line today announced that three award-winning Broadway songstresses, Melinda Doolittle, Sharon Wilkins and Melba Moore, will be performing in the Tony Award-winning musical, After Midnight, as well as their own Supper Club Cabaret Show, aboard Norwegian Escape beginning August 19, 2018.

The announcement, which illustrates the company’s dedication to high-caliber entertainment, comes on the heels of its successfullaunch of Tony Award-winning musical Jersey Boys and its original production ¡HAVANA! as well as the debut of Syd Norman’s Pour House, an authentic and immersive experience inspired by the greatest clubs in American rock ‘n’ roll history. The increase in star power is in response to the incredible reception of Broadway’s own, Tony Award-nominated, Brenda Braxton, who has routinely starred in After Midnight aboard Norwegian Escape since its introduction into the fleet in 2015.

“We are thrilled to engage these celebrated Broadway stars and very happy to welcome Melinda, Sharon and Melba to the Norwegian Cruise Line family,” said Richard Ambrose, the company’s vice president of entertainment. “We have long invested in elevating entertainment on board our ships and working with these powerhouse singers is yet another example of our commitment to exceeding guest expectations with world-class entertainment.”

Beginning August 19, American Idol alumnus and soul songstress, Melinda Doolittle, will make her at-sea debut as the lead in the critically-acclaimed Broadway show After Midnight, which celebrates Duke Ellington’s time at Harlem’s famed Cotton Club during the Jazz Age. Doolittle will perform for six weeks aboard Norwegian Escape with Broadway veteran and television actress, Sharon Wilkins, taking over the role on September 30. A 21-year Broadway veteran, Wilkins is an accomplished on-screen actress having performed in films and television series including Maid in Manhattan, National Treasure, Law and Order: SVU and Rescue Me. Wilkins will perform until December 9, 2018 and will reprise her role in February 2019.

From December 9, 2018 to February 1, 2019, three-time Grammy Award-nominated and Tony Award-winning R&B singer, Melba Moore, will take over for Wilkins as the lead in After Midnight. Recognized as a notable figure within the R&B music genre throughout the 1970s, 80s and 90s, Moore has long been a prominent Broadway vocalist with performances in the Grammy and Tony Award-winning musicals Hair, Les Misérables and Purlie, where she won the Tony Award for best performance by a featured actress in a musical in 1970.

In addition to performing in After Midnight in the Escape Theater, the three stars will host their own Cabaret Show in The Supper Club, offering guests a more intimate performance including solo singing acts with a three-piece band.

The ship’s entertainment schedule features a rotation of these stars well into the 2019 cruise season.

“It is incredibly exciting to be working with Norwegian Cruise Line, a company that is truly redefining entertainment at sea,” said Melba Moore. “I’ve performed in many different arenas throughout my career and am very impressed with the dedication and passion of the team at Norwegian. They really do push the limits to deliver an unforgettable experience for guests. I am anxiously looking forward to joining my fellow cast mates aboard the stunning Norwegian Escape later this year.”

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 60.75 + 2.98%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 116.82 + 2.82%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.31 - 1.50%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 53.08 + 3.75%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which former cargo liner built in 1958 ended her career as a land-locked hotel in Kuwait City, Kuwait?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Today it's common place, but which was the first cruise ship to be enlarged by having an 85 foot mid-section inserted? As a result of this surgery, her capacity increased from 876 to over 1,200.

Answer - The first cruise ship to be enlarged was the Song of Norway.
courtesy of Manuela Flynn


Cruise News - August 13, 2018

Norwegian Transforms Three Ships with Bow-To-Stern Enhancements
Norwegian Cruise Line today announced the completed refurbishments of three ships, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Sun and Norwegian Star, further showcasing its commitment to extraordinary quality and the guest experience.

As part of The Norwegian Edge, the company’s program designed to elevate the standard of excellence across its fleet, the revitalized ships now feature new designs and venues including Los Lobos Cantina, an upscale Mexican restaurant; the adults-only enclave, Spice H2O; and Syd Norman’s Pour House – an American rock ‘n’ roll bar and lounge, which makes its debut aboard Norwegian Breakaway.

“What a year this has been for us at Norwegian Cruise Line,” said Andy Stuart, the brand’s president and chief executive officer. “Not only did we introduce our latest and record-breaking ship, Norwegian Bliss, and announce the redeployment of her sister ship Norwegian Joy, but we are now unveiling our newly revitalized ships, Norwegian Breakaway, Sun and Star. This is a testament to how invested we are in our guests’ experience. Although we are one of the youngest fleets in the industry, we are very committed to The Norwegian Edge program which allows us to remain consistent, relevant and exciting.”

Norwegian Breakaway

Norwegian Breakaway, which was built in 2013, debuts the new American rock ‘n’ roll bar and lounge Syd Norman’s Pour House as well as upgraded accommodations, public spaces and more, following a two-week dry dock in Brest, France.

A testament to Norwegian Cruise Line’s commitment to providing the best entertainment at sea, Syd Norman’s Pour House is an authentic and immersive experience inspired by the greatest clubs in American rock ‘n’ roll history. Replacing Fat Cats Jazz & Blues Club, Syd Norman’s is a tribute to the grandfather of “Rock of Ages” playwright Chris D’Arenso and modeled after influential rock houses such as CBGB’s, The Rainbow and the Fillmore. Vintage décor, diner-style seating and an unforgettable playlist of classic rock from the late 1960’s to 1980’s come together to bring this high-caliber entertainment offering to life. Three times a week, cast members from “Rock of Ages” will treat guests to specialty cocktails named after rock ‘n’ roll classics such as “The Witchy Woman” among others in the interactive Syd Norman’s Experience. Guests will also rock-out to a five-person band playing classics six nights a week.

Additional upgrades include enhancements to Bliss Ultra Lounge with new, premium furniture; new carpet in all 2,014 staterooms and suites; a full transformation of the gift shop; and new carpet installations in the staircases, elevators and lobbies.

Norwegian Sun

Built in 2001, Norwegian Sun underwent a three-week bow-to-stern renovation in Victoria, BC. As a result, she now features refreshed staterooms and public spaces, and boasts three new venues including Los Lobos Cantina, Bliss Ultra Lounge and Spinnaker Lounge.

Los Lobos Cantina is a Mexican restaurant offering a modern take on traditional favorites like guacamole prepared tableside, al pastor tacos, enchiladas de mole and handcrafted margaritas. Replacing Las Ramblas Bar and Restaurant, Los Lobos Cantina features leather banquettes, dark wood tables and seating and ranchero-style design accents.

Bliss Ultra Lounge, formerly Dazzles, is the new bar and nightclub where guests can begin or end their evenings. Enhancements include an updated look with new plush seating, cocktail tables, bar stools, chandeliers, wall sconces, wall coverings, ornamental ceilings and a wooden dance floor.

The Spinnaker Lounge replaces the Observation Lounge and showcases a fresh design with a natural color palette reminiscent of blue, beige and tan. New to the venue are leather chairs, carpet, chandeliers, wall coverings and a stone top bar.

All 968 staterooms were upgraded with smart televisions and USB ports as well as new carpet, artwork and select furniture. The newly revitalized accommodations pay tribute to the beauty of the surrounding ocean with a palette of cool blue hues and silver and turquoise accents. The adorning abstract art within the staterooms and suites are the ideal complement to the new and modern feel.

The renovations also touched dining outlets and public spaces including Cagney’s, La Cucina, Le Bistro, Teppanyaki, the Mandara Spa, Stardust Lounge Theater, Splash Academy and more.

Norwegian Star

Following a nearly three-week dry dock in Barcelona, Spain, Norwegian Star underwent extensive enhancements to its staterooms, public spaces, restaurants, bars and lounges. The ship, built in 2001, also unveiled three new venues: Sky High Bar, Bliss Ultra Lounge and Spice H2O.

Sky High Bar showcases a new design complete with an updated bar and seating for close to 120 guests. Replacing Bier Garten, the outdoor bar and lounge offers the best views on board.

Bliss Ultra Lounge replaces Spinnaker Lounge for late-night entertainment and now boasts a light, neutral color palette and a complete redesign with new carpet, custom loungers, seating, an upgraded bar and artwork.

For the first time, Norwegian Star will offer the adults-only enclave, Spice H2O. This well-appointed venue features a private pool, hot tubs, full bar and uninterrupted ocean views. During the day, it makes an ideal spot for sunbathing, and at night, it transforms into an open-air lounge with live entertainment, DJs and energizing themed nights.

All 1,174 staterooms and suites were outfitted with USB ports, enhanced with over 1,500 works of art and upgraded with new carpet, headboards and select furniture. The three-bedroom garden villas which feature private deck areas and can accommodate up to seven people were also remodeled to offer a light and airy design.

Additional enhancements were made to the bars and lounges, restaurants and public spaces including Atrium Café & Bar, Garden Café and the main dining rooms. A VIP section was also added in the casino.

Oceania Cruises Announces OceaniaNEXT
Today, Oceania Cruises announced its OceaniaNEXT initiative, a sweeping array of dramatic enhancements designed to elevate every facet of the guest experience. The first initiative to be undertaken is the $100 million re-inspiration of the line's four 684-guest ships (Regatta, Insignia, Sirena, and Nautica) that will result in four better-than-new ships. Each will emerge from the re-inspiration process with 342 brand new designer suites and staterooms, and stunning new décor in the restaurants, lounges and bars, inspired by the line's 450 ports of call.

Insignia will be the first to debut on December 7, 2018, followed by Sirena in May 2019, Regatta in September 2019, and Nautica in June 2020.

"OceaniaNEXT will be the most extensive and comprehensive suite of product and guest service enhancements that we have ever undertaken," said Bob Binder, President and CEO of Oceania Cruises. "Our Regatta-Class ships are like second homes to our loyal guests and travel partners. They don't build ships like these anymore, which is why this re-inspiration project is such an important milestone in our company's 15-year history. We are maintaining the intimate surroundings and personal attention that our guests love, while at the same time setting a new standard of style and elegance for small ship cruising. We have opened a new chapter, innovating in every way as we look to the future and the way our guests want to travel. We can't wait for our 'new' ships to launch."

At the helm of the dramatic refurbishment is Studio DADO, a Miami-based design and concept studio specializing in luxury residential and hospitality design.

"The moment we stepped onboard, we were impressed by the ambiance and attention to detail," said Yohandel Ruiz, founding partner of Studio DADO. "The guests we spoke with kept telling us how dearly they loved the ships, so it was important that we kept the intimacy and warmth in the redesign. What we landed on provides a modern and airy atmosphere, similar to what you would find in an elegant estate home."

Surprisingly New, Delightfully Familiar

With the line's acclaimed Marina and Riviera as their muses, Regatta, Insignia, Nautica, and Sirena will feature richly appointed and stylish new interiors that showcase the best of residential design. Furnishings from Baker and Donghia, along with fabrics from Rubelli and Kravet will adorn the public spaces, with new richly-hued custom-milled carpets lining the floors.

Effortless style in an elegant atmosphere will be the defining characteristics of the Reception Hall and Upper Hall. A sparkling new Grand Staircase framed by intricate railings and balustrades inset with crystal accents will welcome guests onboard. Overhead, a crowning grand chandelier adorned with hanging pieces of smoked and hand-painted glass will set the space aglow.

The Grand Dining Room will feature buttery soft cream leather dining chairs accented with metallic bronze threading to catch the light from the stunning new crystal chandelier, which will be the room's defining centerpiece.

Martinis becomes anew with a palette inspired by the stunning coastline of Santorini featuring hues of deep Grecian blue, sienna and chocolate browns, and stately pewter. Silver-white marble and tobacco quartz will accent the bar while the trademark walnut paneling adds luster and whispers of familiarity.

All-New Suites and Staterooms

Wanting guests to feel at home while away from home, the luxurious brand-new staterooms and suites will be lighter, brighter, and even more spacious. Stripped down to their studs, every ounce of the re-inspired accommodations will be modernized, featuring custom-crafted furnishings, exotic stone and polished wood finishes, and designer accessories, creating a harmonious celebration of style and comfort.

"The staterooms and suites are the most dramatic of the transformation," added Ruiz. "They now feature a very clean design with a sophisticated air. Enhanced by nuanced shades of the sea and sky, the tones are warm and soothing, incorporating silvery greys and greens alongside vivid sapphires and taupes."

For convenience, USB ports will be incorporated in each of the staterooms, as well as a state-of-the-art television system with movies on demand in multiple-languages, live stations and a program guide, plus itinerary information and weather updates.

Lustrous New Bathrooms

Every fixture and surface of the bathrooms will be new, with designer features, perfect lighting, lavish vanities, and chic glass shower enclosures. Penthouse, Vista, and Owner's Suites bathrooms become true luxury retreats, offering more space outfitted with Carrara marble, polished granite, and sleek onyx.

Re-Inspiration By The Numbers

• $100 Million Dollars

• 1,368 New Suites and Staterooms

• 1,400 New Marble Bathrooms

• 8,000 New Light Fixtures

• 12,000 New Sofas and Chairs

• 1,000+ Artisans and Craftsmen

Seabourn to Make First-Ever Visits to Cuba
Seabourn announced this week that it has received approval to begin sailing to Cuba from Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico, starting with a 12-day cruise aboard Seabourn Sojourn departing Miami on November 4, 2019. Seabourn becomes Carnival Corporation's third cruise brand currently approved to sail to Cuba.

Bookings for Seabourn's cruises to Cuba open today. Guests can choose from four separate itineraries with five different departure dates. The addition of Seabourn's sailings will help meet the growing demand for luxury travel experiences to Cuba.

The 11-, 12-, and 14-day sailings will visit five ports in Cuba, calling at three or four on each itinerary and providing guests the ideal opportunity to discover the different regions on this vast island. All five voyages will feature overnight stops in the historic capital city Havana, offering travelers ample opportunity to see and experience this vibrant destination. The visit to Havana allows guests time to explore the designated UNESCO World Heritage Site during its 500th anniversary year and immerse themselves in a wide array of historical and cultural experiences.

"For many luxury travelers, they aim to find new places to explore and discover meaningful new cultural opportunities, and Cuba is one of the most sought-after emerging destinations for many of our guests," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "We are excited to finally be able to include Cuba in our itineraries, and our guests and travel partners have been anxiously awaiting an ultra-luxury travel experience with a wider selection of destinations in this relatively undiscovered Caribbean treasure. These Cuba itineraries are fresh and sure to satisfy the curiosity of anyone who has considered visiting."

Seabourn Sojourn will call at five fascinating ports in Cuba throughout the season, offering ample opportunities for guests to discover history and culture, as well as several UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

• Antilla (Nipe Bay) - The entry to the deep-cut Nipe Bay passes by the Cayo Saetia National Park, a natural reservation with wide flora diversity and exotic fauna. The Holguin province offers authentic Cuban communities like San Isidoro de Holguin itself, with 18th-century churches and sleepy plazas. The Sierra del Cristal range holds lush pine forests and Pico Cristal and Mensura national parks with the twin Guayabo waterfalls, Cuba's highest.

• Cienfuegos - One of the later colonial cities of Cuba, Cienfuegos was founded by French nationals in 1819, yet it is inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its remarkable concentration of 19th century architecture. The Jagua Castle at the entrance to the bay actually predates the city, erected in 1745 to protect ships from pirates. An overnight stay allows exploration of the city's highlights, as well as cultural experiences and a visit to the colonial town of Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

• Havana (La Habana) - Visit Cuba's vivacious capital during its 500th anniversary in 2019. An overnight stay in the city offers ample opportunities to experience its history and enjoy the thriving music, dance and graphic arts scenes, as well connecting with artists, dancers and community projects. A highlight is Old Havana and its Fortification System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Havana invites guests to tour 16th-century plazas and Art Deco treasures in lovingly preserved vintage American cars from the 50s and 60s.

• Punta Francés, Isla de Juventud - This idyllic island is the second largest in Cuba, where Cuban vacationers snorkel and dive on coral reefs and shipwrecks in the National Marine Park. A hidden gem off the coast of Cuba, the island was once a pirate hideout. Now it supports farms dedicated to breeding sea turtles and crocodiles. The Punta del Este Caves are the "Sistine Chapel" of prehistoric Taino petroglyphs.

• Santiago de Cuba - Founded in 1515, Cuba's cultural capital is filled with monuments of its colonial and revolutionary history, including UNESCO World Heritage Site San Pedro de la Roca Castle. Santiago will reward a two-day stay with highlights including its cathedrals and the museums of the Moncada Barracks, the Velazquez House, the Lucha Clandestina museum and the neighboring community of El Cobre and its Basilica de la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre. It is also the wellspring of all styles of Cuban music.

While off the ship, guests may join UNESCO Partner Tours exploring Cuba's World Heritage cities including Santa Clara and Trinidad, the Biosphere Reserve at Las Terrazas, plus participatory excursions both by day and by night, tracing the Cuban culinary, musical and artistic heritage and including meetings with arts and community projects in Havana, Santiago and Cienfuegos. Additionally, a stop at Cienfuegos presents the opportunity for a special visit to the colonial town of Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Cuba's province of Sancti Spíritus. In addition, guests can enjoy several complimentary Seabourn special events and experiences, such as Caviar in the Surf* beach barbecues in Isla Catalina and Carambola Beach, as well as Marina Day with complimentary watersports in Isla Catalina operating directly from the back of the ship, weather and conditions permitting.

Celebrity Unveils Its Most Technologically Advanced Theater
With its transformational design, Celebrity Edge is poised to raise the bar on modern luxury travel to even greater heights, and the entertainment on board is just as game-changing as the ship itself. On Celebrity Edge, guests will experience the brand’s most technologically advanced main theater, the most production shows of any ship in the brand’s history, the largest cast of world-class performers on any premium cruise ship, and more entertainment venues than ever before. Guests should expect nothing less from the ship that is leading THE CELEBRITY REVOLUTION.

“With Celebrity Edge, we have created our biggest and most comprehensive lineup of entertainment to date. We’ve truly taken entertainment to the edge,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “Entertainment on Celebrity is daring and bold, dynamic and refreshing, surrounding you at every turn. It makes every moment of your vacation an unforgettable journey, and the entertainment on Celebrity Edge takes this philosophy further than ever before. We are changing the future of our entertainment – just as we are with everything we are doing on Celebrity Edge.”

The Theatre on Celebrity Edge throws away the curtain altogether, blurring the line between audience and performance and immersing guests in an entertainment experience like no other. With four stage areas and three gigantic, moving projection screens, The Theatre offers an ever-changing canvas for the productions that live here.

The main stage extends into the audience creating a theater-in-the-round sensation. A duo-directional rotating platform raises almost seven feet above the stage to take performances to a whole new level. With two rotating spiral staircases, 10 synchronized panoramic projection screens, 16 state-of-the-art video mapping laser projectors, aerial performance rigging, and more, the technology behind the scenes will at times steal the show.

“In designing Celebrity Edge, we developed and used some of the most advanced technology available. And, in designing the entertainment venues on Celebrity Edge, we used those same tools to break the mold of what people think an entertainment venue is,” said Brian Abel, Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations, Celebrity Cruises.

To help create an industry-leading theater space, Celebrity turned to award-winning architect and designer Scott Butler, founding partner of Wilson Butler Architects, a firm known for designing some of the most innovative arts and entertainment venues in the world.

“We wanted to take the idea of traditional theater and turn it on its head,” said Butler. “The Theatre on Celebrity Edge was designed to awaken people – immersing them in the experience, stimulating their senses and altering their expectations for live entertainment.”

To make all of The Theatre’s technology run like clockwork, Celebrity collaborated with TAIT, a leader in the stage automation business. The entire stage performs a precise synchronization of rotating stage platforms, rain curtains, spiraling staircases, flying aerial rigs, and the tallest projection screens at sea. TAIT’s automation is coupled with the visions of the Black Skull Creative group, who’ve created contemporary shows and experiences around the world, including the 2012 London Olympics. Celebrity also teamed up with Three In One Entertainment and Consulting, whose creative successes include INFERNO: The Fire Spectacular in Las Vegas.

“We’ve created the most exciting and technologically advanced entertainment venues in our fleet, so of course we worked with the most revolutionary production companies,” said Becky Thomson-Foley, Associate Vice President, Entertainment, Celebrity Cruises. “We are combining incredible venues with visionary experiences that will stay with guests long after they leave.”

At The Theatre, guests can enjoy five new full production shows, including the Shakespeare-inspired A Hot Summer Night’s Dream, where light-hearted theater meets extraordinary acrobatics; The Jewelry Box, with its jaw-dropping technological feats; Kaleidoscope, a high-energy music and dance extravaganza harnessing the stage’s state-of-the-art technology; and two shows as part of Celebrity’s new Headline Residency program – Get Up, a dynamic pop concert produced by Black Skull Creative, and The Purpose, an uplifting production designed to celebrate the inner self.

Brought to life once again in collaboration with the visionaries behind Eden – Butler and famed designer and architect Patricia Urquiola – The Club on Celebrity Edge is a progressive space that changes its persona from morning to... well, early the next morning.

During the day, The Club offers experiences such as the Funovation Laser Maze Challenge, the Drone Hunting laser obstacle course, and more.

At night, The Club undergoes yet another transformation. Undercover at The Club puts a contemporary spin on the Prohibition era with 20’s-inspired craft cocktails and an aerial saxophonist. The futuristic body scanner of Andromeda allows guests to become someone else for the evening. And Celebrity’s Hypno Cam Experience is a first-at-sea dance party featuring a high-tech camera that’s passed around to capture photos, which are instantly displayed on a giant LED screen.

On Celebrity Edge, the brand takes its fully customizable Camp at Sea program to the next level for younger travelers of all ages with more than 500 activities, including Celebrity’s first youth coding experience at sea, and two completely separate contemporary spaces, one for the kids and one for the teens.

Celebrity has infused entertainment throughout the ship. At the Rooftop Garden, guests can enjoy experiences such as the Rooftop Concert Series and the Garden Cinema Series, the next evolution of the brand’s Taste of Film experience that’s an under-the-stars moviegoing experience with live musical performances.

The iconic Eden will feature evolving entertainment as the space transforms from a “chillful” escape in the mornings to “playful” in the afternoons to “sinful” at night. Daytime experiences include Meditation at Eden and performances from sitar players to aerialists. As dusks falls, Eve at Eden begins. Developed in partnership with Variety Worldwide, this theatrical journey will indulge every sense and put guests at the center of the experience, for a fusion of culinary exploration, performance art and nightlife – like nothing else at sea, or even on land.

Princess Cruises Unveils New Beverage Menus
Princess Cruises has revealed the line's newly enhanced beverage menus, featuring globally inspired signature cocktail offerings created by master mixologist Rob Floyd. As one of the most significant beverage changes in the history of the company, destination-specific ingredients have been carefully selected to tantalize guests' taste buds with flavors from every corner of the world. In addition to the new cocktails, the line has added 20 new high-end and exotic spirits, 39 new wines by the glass, and 17 new international and craft beers to the new menu.

"As part of our continued commitment to the guest experience, we are thrilled to debut new menus throughout the bars and lounges aboard Princess ships," said Mario Siebaldi, senior vice president of guest operations for Princess Cruises. "Broadening the scope of our beverage options by partnering with notable industry leaders like Rob Floyd on globally inspired cocktails, as well as increasing our selection of beers and wines on board are all part of our aim to provide guests the best cruise vacation experience at sea. And with our new shareable drink recipes, guests can recreate their favorite memories once back at home over and over again."

Highlights of the new onboard offerings include a set of signature cocktails designed by Floyd, who used fresh ingredients and destination inspiration to develop a portfolio of new drinks for Princess Cruises. Bars and lounges throughout the ships will also feature new, themed menus, so guests can have fun exploring the different offerings at the various bars on board.

"I was truly inspired by ingredients from all the amazing destinations that Princess Cruises sails," said Rob Floyd. "Guests will be able to enjoy a wide selection of fully realized drinks that combine what I refer to as the Three T's: taste, technique, and tale."

Floyd believes spectacular drinks combine the best of "The Three T's." First and foremost is "Taste," as interesting ingredient combinations produce delicious flavors. The second element, "Technique," refers to the skill and craft that goes into creating each drink. And last but not least the "Tale;" a creative and fascinating inspiration behind each unique cocktail.

Whether traveling to Mexico, Italy, or the South Pacific, the globally designed cocktails by Rob Floyd have the flavors to inspire. Initial offerings include:

• Mayan Heat: Patrón Silver tequila, Triple Sec, lime juice, agave syrup, muddled jalapeño

• Italian Sunset: Aperol, Bombay Sapphire gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, Angostura bitters

• Ver-Jus: St. George "Terroir" gin, St-Germain, muddled green grapes, lemon juice, simple syrup

• Mint Divine: Bombay Sapphire gin, ginger beer, cucumber, lime juice, simple syrup, fresh mint

• Amaretto Manhattan: Bulleit Bourbon, Disaronno, sweet vermouth, Angostura orange bitters

• Princess Punch: Absolut Elyx vodka, St. George raspberry liqueur, fresh lime, simple syrup, Gosling's ginger beer

• East Side Punch: Absolut Elyx vodka, fresh mint, cucumber, lime juice, simple syrup, club soda

• A Trip to the Tropics: Absolut Elyx vodka, apricot liqueur, orange juice, pineapple juice, pomegranate juice

• Ivory Coast: Grey Goose vodka, Amarula African liqueur, Kahlúa, chocolate shavings

• The Egyptian Zombie: Bacardi Superior rum, Gosling's Dark rum, blackberry brandy, sweet and sour, orange juice, pineapple juice, grenadine

Rounding out the new drinks are "zero-proof cocktails," made without alcohol. These light, fruity and refreshing drinks skimp on the alcohol, but miss none of the flavor.

• Zero Mojito: Fresh mint, lime, simple syrup, Sprite

• Strawberries on Fire: Fresh strawberries, lime juice, agave syrup, jalapeño, soda

The new beverage menu offerings will be available aboard all ships in fall 2018.

Cunard Queens Meet Red Arrows in the Solent in Southampton
On the evening of August 10, 2018, Cunard's three queens—Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth—sailed from Southampton and were sent off by the Red Arrows, The Royal Air Force Aerobic Team with a display of a flying formation.

The sendoff marks the first time in Cunard's history that guests had the opportunity to see the Red Arrows flying display while onboard.

Guests on board Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria will also be treated to a special commentary while the jets performed. Listeners in the United Kingdom were also able to tune into the commentary on Cowes radio – 87.7FM.

The Cunard fleet set sail from Southampton at 5:30p.m., heading for the Isle of Wright. The fleet also received a memorable and unique send off from the yachtsmen and spectators at Cowes and the Royal Yacht Squadron.

Friday was a day of celebration for the luxury cruise line in Southampton. In addition to the amazing display, Cunard is hosted five lucky children who won a competition to visit the three Queens and enjoy a 'Captain for the Day' experience. To win the competition they had to share with Cunard, in their own words, why they deserved to be a 'Captain for the Day' and they were judged on the creativity of their entry.

The children were given a tour of Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth, spending time with Captain and a visit to the Bridge. They also enjoyed lunch on board and finished their day with a trip round all three Queens in a speedboat.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 58.99 - 0.99%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 113.62 + 1.73%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.33 - 2.21%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 51.16 + 2.83%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Today it's common place, but which was the first cruise ship to be enlarged by having an 85 foot mid-section inserted? As a result of this surgery, her capacity increased from 876 to over 1,200.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Just outside of the Britannia Restaurant on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 are a series of metallic, art deco-influenced frescoes celebrating the historical and cultural icons of the continents. In addition to the Statue of Liberty and the U.S. Capitol on the "North America" mural there is a very tiny and surprising representative of the continent? Can you name him/her?

Answer - The first cruise ship to be enlarged was the Song of Norway.
courtesy of Manuela Flynn


Cruise News - August 6, 2018

Royal Caribbean Reports Record Second Quarter Earnings
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) today reported record second quarter results and reaffirmed its full year Adjusted EPS guidance of $8.70 to $8.90 per share. The company noted that this guidance includes a $0.35 negative impact from currency and fuel since the April guidance. This negative impact is being offset by better second quarter results and an improved revenue outlook. For the second quarter, Royal Caribbean said that it reported US GAAP earnings of $2.19 per share and adjusted earnings of $2.27 per share, beating guidance by $0.39 per share.

"While we are frustrated by foreign exchange and fuel rates, we are tickled pink that our business continues to excel and overcome these headwinds," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO. "It is a pleasure to prove, once again, how strong our brands are and to demonstrate continued upside to our yields while maintaining strong expense control."

SECOND QUARTER 2018

US GAAP Net Income for the second quarter of 2018 was $466.3 million or $2.19 per share and Adjusted Net Income was $482.2 million or $2.27 per share. Last year, both US GAAP and Adjusted Net Income were $369.5 million or $1.71 per share. Royal Caribbean said that it beat the Adjusted EPS guidance for the second quarter by $0.39. Such a high level of favorability is unusual and was driven by a noteworthy confluence of factors including: better than expected revenue from the global brands, better performance from the joint ventures and lower than expected expenses which were driven by timing.

Gross Yields were up 2.7% and Net Yields were up 2.8% in Constant-Currency, exceeding prior guidance due to strong close-in demand for our core products and better onboard revenues.

Gross Cruise Costs per APCD increased 1.1% in Constant-Currency. Net Cruise Costs ("NCC") excluding Fuel per APCD were up 1.1% in Constant-Currency, lower than guidance, driven by the timing of hotel and marine related projects and marketing related expenses.

Additionally, better than expected performance below the line, mainly due to additional returns from our joint ventures, contributed to the quarter's unusually high performance.

Bunker pricing net of hedging for the second quarter was $513.6 per metric ton and consumption was 335.5 metric tons.

Since our last call, Royal Caribbean said that it repurchased $300 million in shares as part of the $1 billion repurchase program authorized in May 2018.

FULL YEAR 2018

Royal Caribbean said that it expects its full year Adjusted EPS to be in the range of $8.70 to $8.90 per share. This range includes a negative impact of $0.35 from currency and fuel versus our previous quarterly guidance and $0.06 in additional interest expense related to the purchase price for Silversea. Thus, excluding the impact of currency, fuel and additional interest related to the Silversea investment, Royal Caribbean said that it is effectively raising its guidance by $0.40 per share.

Royal Caribbean said that it expects a Net Yield increase in the range of 2.75% to 3.75% in Constant-Currency. As-Reported yields are expected to be up 3.25% to 4.0%.

NCC excluding Fuel are expected to be up approximately 2.5% in Constant-Currency - in line with previous guidance; and up approximately 3.0% As-Reported.

Taking into account current fuel pricing, interest and currency exchange rates, and the factors detailed above, Royal Caribbean said that it estimates 2018 Adjusted EPS to be in the range of $8.70 to $8.90 per share.

"2018 is shaping up to be another year of record earnings, which is being driven by a strong demand environment and effective cost and capital management," said Jason T. Liberty, executive vice president and CFO. "While it is too early to guide on 2019, it is very encouraging to see these positive trends further supporting a strong book of business for next year."

THIRD QUARTER 2018

Constant-Currency Net Yields are expected to be up approximately 2.0% for the third quarter of 2018.

NCC excluding Fuel for the third quarter are expected to be down approximately 1.0% in Constant-Currency.

Based on current fuel pricing, interest and currency exchange rates, and the factors detailed above, Royal Caribbean said that it expects third quarter Adjusted EPS to be in the range of $3.90 to $3.95 per share. This number includes the negative impact of approximately $0.20 from currency and fuel when compared to the rates included in our previous quarterly guidance.

SILVERSEA

As separately announced, Royal Caribbean said that it received all necessary governmental approvals for the Silversea share purchase and closed the transaction on July 31st. Accordingly, the guidance above includes approximately $0.06 in additional interest expense related to the financing of purchase price. Royal Caribbean said that it will record Silversea's results with a three-month lag, which means that the company expects to begin consolidating their operations in the fourth quarter of 2018.

As previously stated, Silversea is not expected to materially impact near term Adjusted Earnings per Share for the company as a whole. However, the consolidation of Silversea will have some impact on the company's metrics. Firstly, the transaction involves purchase accounting adjustments which will take some time to determine. Although the bulk of these adjustments will be excluded from Adjusted Earnings per Share there could be some included. These will not be known for some time, but have been assumed to be neutral in the above guidance.

More visibly, Silversea is an ultra-luxury brand with higher per berth revenues and higher per berth expenses than our other brands. While the bottom line impact in the near term should be immaterial, the consolidation will mean higher average yields for the company and higher costs per berth.

Lindblad Expeditions Expands Long-term Strategic Partnership With National Geographic Partners
Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc. announced today that it has expanded its agreement with National Geographic Partners ("National Geographic") to include all of the Americas.

The relationship between Lindblad and National Geographic, founded in 2004 and steeped in a shared interest in exploration, research, technology and conservation, includes co-selling, co-marketing and branding arrangements that run through 2025. With the addition of the Canada and Latin America markets to the existing agreement covering the United States, Australia and New Zealand, Lindblad and National Geographic have further deepened their long-term strategic partnership and will collectively invest to further accelerate growth in these important geographies.

The United States has long been the primary source market for Lindblad, and with the rapidly accelerating demand for authentic and immersive experiential travel the Company certainly expects significant domestic growth for years to come. At the same time, many of the trends powering the increase in expedition travel in the United States are manifesting themselves globally as well, and deepening expansion into select international markets is a core part of Lindblad's growth strategy.

The expanded collaboration with National Geographic provides an opportunity for Lindblad and National Geographic to leverage the strong brand position National Geographic holds in Canada and key Latin American markets, while at the same time building upon Lindblad's long-established leadership position in the United States expedition travel market.

Given the accelerating demand for high quality and authentic expedition travel and the expanded agreement with National Geographic, Lindblad's Board of Directors recently approved the build of an additional blue water vessel to explore the world's most unique and remote locations. This state of the art vessel, which is anticipated to be delivered in 2021, will be the next step in the Company's fleet expansion following the launch of the National Geographic Quest in July 2017, the addition of the National Geographic Venture to the fleet in December 2018 and the delivery of the National Geographic Endurance in the first quarter of 2020.

Sven-Olof Lindblad, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "Lindblad has been a pioneer in expedition travel for fifty years. By extending our successful partnership with National Geographic, energizing new markets and expanding our fleet, we are taking the next steps in our long-term growth strategy. Our experience and track record in delivering unparalleled experiences in the world's most amazing locations ideally positions us to capitalize on the explosive growth in high quality adventure travel."

"National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions have, over the past 14 years, found an extraordinary level of common cause. This manifests itself in knowing the importance of people exploring the world, building understanding and becoming more knowledgeable and energized citizens," says Gary E. Knell, CEO of National Geographic Partners. "Our collaboration goes far beyond business, into education, conservation and storytelling through expedition travel. We know collectively that our partnership's goal is to consistently grow the number of people who explore our world and that's why we're so excited to expand our partnership to include the Canadian and Latin American markets."

Royal Caribbean Hosts Largest Movie Premiere At Sea
Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas is making waves in Hollywood this summer with her starring role, alongside Kristen Bell, Kelsey Grammer and Seth Rogen, in the Netflix original “Like Father.”

To celebrate, on Friday, Aug.3, the cruise line hosted the largest movie premiere at sea by screening the dramedy across its Oasis Class ships – the world’s largest cruise ships: Symphony, Harmony, Allure and Oasis of the Seas – in the iconic AquaTheater, the onboard amphitheater boasting two movie screens. Leading up to the premiere, guests were treated to a special event in the signature Boardwalk neighborhood, featuring a live DJ, face painting, delicious treats and beverage specials.

“Like Father” was filmed on board Harmony of the Seas and showcases the famed actors experiencing the robust lineup of thrilling activities and amenities for which Royal Caribbean is known, including Boleros, The Perfect Storm, FlowRider, Royal Promenade, Rising Tide Bar, and the line’s private island destination Labadee, Haiti, where they braved the longest overwater zip line.

The movie, written, directed and produced by Lauren Miller Rogen, features Kristen Bell as a young advertising executive and workaholic, who was left at the altar and unexpectedly ends up on her Caribbean honeymoon cruise with her estranged father – Kelsey Grammer. After several adventures and much soul-searching, the two return with a renewed appreciation for family and life. The film launched globally on Netflix on August 3.

Azamara Journey Meets Sister Ship Azamara Pursuit During Its Maiden Voyage
Yesterday, Azamara Club Cruises celebrated a rare occurrence as two of its three vessels, Azamara Pursuit – currently on its maiden voyage – and Azamara Journey – welcoming new officers – met in Haugesund, Norway. The meeting was celebrated with a variety of activities including an on-shore gathering, which brought the guests and crew from each ship together, as well as a sail away party featuring Norwegian cuisine, cocktails and entertainment.

"Azamara Pursuit, joining its highly award-winning sister, Azamara Journey, marks a new era for the Azamara brand," said Larry Pimentel, President & CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. "To celebrate the special meeting of the two ships, we could not think of a better way to welcome the new ship and team members than with a celebration that brings together our crew and guests. We are thrilled to do this in Norway – one of Azamara's most popular destinations."

As part of its land programing, enabling guests to explore deeper into Haugsesund, Azamara offered guests from both ships an exclusive tour of Kyvik Herring Factory, led by the executive chefs onboard Azamara Pursuit and Azamara Journey. During the tour, travelers met the local producers who are committed to keeping Norway's vibrant Herring fishing tradition alive and learned the process of salting, seasoning, and preserving the fish for use in classic cuisine.

To give guests the opportunity to celebrate with crew from both ships, Azamara and the port of Haugesund hosted a party on the pier upon arrival and as guests were returning from their day exploring. The event featured a display of authentic Norwegian customs with a flag parade led by local children dressed in Bunad, traditional Norwegian folk costumes that are worn for special events. The event also included the opportunity for guests to join the plaque ceremony between both captains, the Haugesund Mayor and the port officials.

The celebration continued on-board the vessels with a party showcasing Azamara's commitment to Destination Immersion. As the ships departed from port, both blew their horns in unison as guests and crew waved goodbye. They also toasted the sister ships meeting with a cocktail mixed with Linie Akvavit – a signature liquor of Norway – all to the sounds of "We Are Family." The evening concluded with Azamara's white night-inspired sail away party with a special Scandinavian twist.

Guests and crew had the opportunity to tour each ship upon arrival in port. They were guided through the various spaces of the ship including the restaurants, pool deck, fitness center, and more.

The port town of Haugesund is considered one of the country's principal cultural centers and known as the birthplace of Norway. The lands around Haugesund were lands of power during the Viking Age, and the first king of Norway lived very near by the present city center. Azamara Journey is sailing the 15-Night Journey to North Cape and Azamara Pursuit is sailing the 12-Night Norway Intensive Voyage with eight stops in Scandinavian country.

Princess Cruises Exclusive Burger Now Available On Land
The "Ernesto," the signature burger of The Salty Dog Gastropub aboard select Princess Cruises ships will now be available on land for the first time, added as a featured item on the dinner menu of chef partner, Ernesto Uchimura's Los Angeles based neighborhood restaurant and bar, Electric Owl.

Developed in collaboration with Ernesto Uchimura, a founding chef of the original Umami Burger, the "Ernesto" is the signature offering at The Salty Dog Gastropub and the Salty Dog Grill, both found on select ships in the Princess Cruises fleet. The gastropub was unveiled in 2016 and the grill in 2017 as part of the line's Come Back New Promise, $450 million multi-year product innovation and cruise ship renovation campaign to enhance the line's onboard guest experience.

The namesake burger consists of ribeye and short rib beef patty, grilled pork belly, caramelized kimchi, beer battered jalapeño, charred onion aioli and is topped with cave-aged Gruyère cheese. Uchimura's creation has been voted "Best Burger at Sea" by Cruise Critic.

"Creating the 'Ernesto' as my namesake burger and having it offered aboard Princess ships around the world has been such a proud moment for me," said Uchimura. "As a chef, I have a passion for sharing my food with the world, and through this partnership I've been able to reach further than ever before. It was only fitting to bring the burger home to Los Angeles, and offer it to our guests here at Electric Owl."

Princess Cruises Expands Annual Relaxation Report Internationally
For its ninth annual Relaxation Report, Princess Cruises expanded the depth of its study to a global audience, adding representation from Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, United Kingdom, and Australia. The global results when it comes to relaxation and sleep are surprisingly similar across different countries. According to results of the survey by Wakefield Research for Princess Cruises, global adults aren't dedicating time for sleep or relaxation, with more than half (51%) of global adults reporting they get less sleep than they need on an average night and 80 percent of adults are using weekend days to make up for sleep lost during the weekday.

One way employees can set aside time to relax is to take a vacation, and the survey found that a little over half of those surveyed (55%) took all of the vacation days available to them in the last year with the UK respondents at the top of the list (76%) and the Japanese at the bottommost (28%). Of those who did not use all of their vacation days, the top reasons are:

• They had too much work to get done (38%)

• They couldn't find a good time to take off (34%)

• There was a lack of support at work to take time off (25%)

And when using their vacation days, 75 percent of those who are employed take days off to catch up on sleep – seven days on average per year.

As one of the world's largest international premium cruise brands, Princess Cruises is committed to ensuring its guests come back from vacation feeling refreshed, renewed and rejuvenated. As part of its Come Back New Promise, Princess Cruises partnered with leading experts in both the science and beauty of sleep to develop the Princess Luxury Bed. Together with board-certified sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus and designer Candice Olson, Princess Cruises now delivers its guests the ultimate night of sleep at sea.

"Sleep continues to trouble people around the globe and across generations, whether at home or while traveling. Sleep is a vital, sensory experience that allows our bodies to recharge and recover from mental and physical strains," said Dr. Breus. "By collaborating with Princess Cruises, I believe we've come up with some really unique aspects for not just the Princess Luxury Bed itself, but the entire experience that will allow guests to sleep really well on their cruise vacation."

Americans and Relaxation

• Resting Rituals – Technology is a major culprit that can keep a mind and body from winding down. Yet, most (68%) Americans watch TV before turning in, 39% look at social media.

• Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows – Outside of night-time rituals, the current events of the day can impact sleep as well. As it turns out, today's tense political climate has a lot of people on edge, making it harder for them to relax. In fact, nearly three in five (59%) Americans admit as much.

• Skewed Priorities – From the realities of the world at large to responsibilities at work and home, taking time to give our minds and bodies a break is key. Few Americans dedicate time to relax each day. More than three in four Americans (78%) do not set aside time to unwind every day, unchanged from 2017.

• Vacation Neglect – Nearly half (46%) of working Americans with vacation did not use all the time available to them over the past 12 months. This is up significantly from 2017, when just under two in five (39%) did the same.

• Working For the Weekend – Nearly three-fourths (72%) of Americans use weekends to make up for sleep they lost during the week.

Some Global Comparisons The Most Sleep Deprived Countries – Adults getting somewhat less or much less sleep than needed

• UK: 63%
• Singapore: 62%
• Australia: 61%
• U.S.: 58%
• China and Korea: 53%
• Taiwan and Japan: 49%
• Hong Kong: 48%
• Malaysia: 47%
• Vietnam: 38%
• Indonesia: 34%

Use of Weekends by County to Catch Up On Sleep

• Vietnam: 92%
• China: 90%
• Hong Kong: 87%
• Indonesia: 85%
• Taiwan: 84%
• Singapore and Malaysia: 82%
• Korean: 81%
• Australia: 73%
• U.S.: 72%
• UK and Japan: 66%

Days Taken off by Country per Year (on average) to Catch Up on Sleep

• Vietnam – 11 days
• Malaysia, Taiwan and Indonesia – 9 days
• China – 8 days
• Hong Kong – 7 days
• Singapore and Australia – 6 days
• UK and U.S. – 5 days
• Korea – 4 days
• Japan – 3 days

By 2019 more than 45,000 Princess Luxury Beds will be fully rolled out to over 22,000 staterooms. The bed features a plush, two-inch thick pillow top, a nine-inch, single-sided medium firm mattress for enhanced support, individually wrapped coils for less partner disturbance, a European-inspired duvet and 100% luxurious Jacquard-woven cotton linens.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 58.41 - 0.54%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 111.69 + 0.59%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.36 + 3.82%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 49.75 - 0.02%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Today it's common place, but which was the first cruise ship to be enlarged by having an 85 foot mid-section inserted? As a result of this surgery, her capacity increased from 876 to over 1,200.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which cruise ship was the first to provide passengers Internet access?

Answer - In 1999, Norwegian Cruise Lines Norwegian Sky became the first cruise ship to offer their passengers onboard Internet access.
courtesy of Herbert A Rideout, Fallbrook, CA


Cruise News - July 30, 2018

HAL Releases Nieuw Statendam Design Detials
When Holland America Line welcomes Nieuw Statendam to the fleet in December 2018, the ship will showcase the evolution of design that was introduced with Koningsdam, the first Pinnacle Class ship. Focusing on the importance of thoughtful details and special touches, Nieuw Statendam's musical design and "artfully inspired" finishing perfectly blend Holland America Line's past, present and future and is showcased in a trio of videos on the design and artists now available on hollandamerica.com and the line's YouTube channel.

The new 2,666-guest ship will have an interior that balances a fresh, contemporary styling in perfect harmony with the line's renowned classic elegance, while continuing a bold course forward. At the helm of the design and interiors once again are internationally acclaimed hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and Bjørn Storbraaten, one of the world's leading architects working in the cruise industry.

"Nieuw Statendam will join our fleet in just over four months and guests are excitedly reserving their place to sail on this beautiful new ship in its premier season," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "Like its sister-ship Koningsdam, Nieuw Statendam is all about fine details and thoughtful touches throughout the ship that create an ambiance of both elegance and style. From the public areas to the staterooms, Nieuw Statendam is going to be stunning and very popular with our guests."

A leader in creating luxurious and creative interiors at some of the world's most iconic properties and the designer for sister-ship Koningsdam, Tihany is approaching Nieuw Statendam with an eye toward creating public spaces that reflect the tradition and signature elegance for which Holland America Line is known, while elevating the design by introducing innovative new features.

Focusing on fluid curves and graceful lines, light-filled spaces and the natural flow of public areas, the key to Tihany's concept is utilizing visual interaction, where guests actively engage with the interiors rather than passively moving through them.

Nieuw Statendam will showcase a dramatic three-deck-high central atrium that is graced by an airy stainless-steel sculpture that is meant to emulate the feeling of being inside and surrounded by a musical instrument. Like music, the experience changes as guests move around and through it, so no two perspectives are the same. The atrium is capped by a ceiling skylight that serves as a backdrop for subtly changing high-definition projections. Guests will look up by day and see wispy cirrus clouds floating in an azure sky or perhaps soothing images of light in water. By evening, the atrium takes on dramatic lighting hues or reflects the starlit constellations of the night sky.

The Dining Room aboard Nieuw Statendam will span two floors and be framed by views of the sea. A bright interior will be inspired by a modern, global design and sets the stage for the exceptional culinary experience to come. Strong, curved architectural pillars will accentuate the soaring ceiling. Chic, custom furnishings and modern glass lighting are being fabricated especially for the ship. The centerpiece is a curved copper sheath surrounding a two-story wine tower showcasing an impressive selection.

Rudi's Sel De Mer, Holland America Line's intimate French brasserie, is reimagined on Nieuw Statendam with expanded seating for 54 guests. The restaurant retains its original curving shape and polished walnut wood accordion-inspired column structure, while richly colored décor creates a sense of sophistication and elegance. The back wall is adorned with a collection of porcelain plates decorated with Chef Rudi Sodamin's Food Faces culinary pop art, produced by the famed French brand Bernardaud.

Architect and designer Bjørn Storbraaten joins Tihany in bringing the ship to life in a familiar yet innovative style. With his previous work on Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam and Eurodam, Storbraaten adds continuity of the brand while taking elegance to the next level.

Storbraaten's hand is clearly present in the design of the central pool area. The Magrodome area is two levels to create a vast glass-enclosed space. The lower level will feature traditional poolside elements, while the mezzanine level will showcase more seating, a giant screen for poolside movies and New York Deli and Pizza.

In addition to other areas, Storbraaten is designing the exotic look of Tamarind, the line's Pan-Asian restaurant that emphasizes nature's basic elements: water, wood, fire and earth. On Nieuw Statendam, the Tamarind experience expands with the addition of a new outdoor dining area, so guests can take in the sweeping views and fresh sea air.

Across the ship, Tihany and Storbraaten are working together to make Nieuw Statendam an exquisite evolution of the Holland America Line experience.

Arriving just in time to whisk travelers away from winter weather, Nieuw Statendam will spend its first cruising season exploring the golden beaches and sun-kissed skies of the Caribbean, sailing roundtrip Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from December 2018 through April 2019. All Caribbean cruises include a day at Holland America Line's idyllic and award-winning island Half Moon Cay. Next spring, the ship will cross the Atlantic Ocean and spend the summer and fall exploring northern Europe and the Mediterranean. Nieuw Statendam then returns to the Caribbean in October 2019.

Royal Caribbean completes acquisition of Silversea Cruises shares
Silversea Cruises has officially joined the family of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

The companies announced today they have closed on RCL's acquisition of a two-thirds stake in Silversea after receiving final approval from regulators. The investment unites two leading players in the cruise industry and fills out RCL's portfolio of cruise brands across all key market segments.

"We are proud to officially welcome Silversea's industry-leading team to the RCL family," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "This is a dynamite combination and we can't wait to work with Manfredi, Roberto and the entire team as together we take Silversea to the next level."

Regulators green-lighted Royal Caribbean's purchase of a 66.7% equity stake in Silversea Cruises, based on an enterprise value of approximately $2 billion. Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio will remain Executive Chairman of Silversea and retain a 33.3% stake.

"We're excited to join the Royal Caribbean family and ready to begin this next chapter as part of an industry leader that is uniquely qualified to support Silversea's future growth," said Lefebvre. "This partnership enables us to realize our vision of being the uncontested leader in ultra-luxury cruising and expedition, taking our guests to more than 1,000 destinations aboard some of the world's most luxurious vessels."

The companies also announced Project Invictus, a multi-year initiative to take Silversea's ultra-luxury offerings to the next level. Project Invictus enhancements range from product upgrades to magnified ship revitalization programs. "Our intent is to solidify our already strong leadership position with an exciting array of upgrades that thrill our guests," said Roberto Martinoli, Silversea CEO.

The first Invictus enhancements will begin rolling out on the Silver Muse this upcoming August 19th where an upgraded champagne and caviar offering will be initiated. Immediately thereafter, these and other enhancements will be implemented fleet wide, impacting a wide variety of onboard features and strengthening Silversea's reputation for indulgent, luxurious embellishments.

Silversea's growing fleet of ultra-luxury ships will also benefit from an upgrade. The planned renovation of Silver Whisper in December 2018 will be much more comprehensive than initially anticipated and will include a partial refit of all guest cabins. Moreover, Silversea's Silver Wind will also enter into an enhanced dry dock in December 2018. Both vessels will join the overarching plan for a fleet-wide "Musification" which will take inspiration from the design of the very successful cruise line's flagship, Silver Muse. The plan will be completed shortly after with an enhanced dry dock of the Silver Shadow.

With Silversea joining the RCL lineup alongside Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, TUI Cruises and Pullmantur Cruceros, the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. fleet now numbers 59 ships with an additional 15 on order.

Princess Unveils More Features for Sky Princess
Princess Cruises has unveiled new details revealing features onboard its new ship Sky Princess, including a first look at its first-ever Sky Suites.

As seen in the first released image of the Sky Suites, the accommodations are centrally located on the top decks of Sky Princess and feature the largest private balconies ever offered by the line. Measuring 700 square feet, the balconies will provide a private vantage of the ship's Movie Under the Stars screen and create the ultimate space for entertaining. The two suites will also offer a 270-degree panorama and have sleeping capacity for five guests, and more for entertaining -- making them ideal for families.

"Our two new Sky Suites reflect Princess Cruises' continued commitment to offer new and expansive accommodations that meet the needs of our guests who wish to explore the world in ultimate comfort," said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises

Debuting in the Mediterranean in October 2019, the 143,700-ton Sky Princess will include the best of the stunning features found on its three sister ships - Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess - as well as new offerings that represent an evolution of the current ships' designs.

New for Sky Princess will be the addition of a Wakeview pool on its aft decks. In addition to the Wakeview pool, Sky Princess guests will enjoy two new deep-tank top deck pools, a restorative Retreat Pool, and more Jacuzzis than previous Royal-Class ships including two Jacuzzis cantilevered over the deep-tank pools.

Meanwhile Sky Princess will introduce more ways for guests to unwind, with its relaxing Sanctuary area offering a new contemporary design and twice as many private cabanas as its sister ships.

Guests will also be able to enjoy the new look of the ship's Vista Lounge complete with a full bar offering, an evolution of the popular lounge on other Princess ships. Guests can take advantage of a new café in the Princess Live venue, serving barista made coffee, tea and quick bites.

Ms Swartz said Princess Cruises' guests could look forward to the rollout of more new features as the cruise line's fleet expanded.

Carnival Announces Major Dry Dock Makeover for Carnival Triumph, Leading to Renaming as Carnival Sunrise
Carnival Cruise Line today revealed plans for a nearly $200 million bow-to-stern makeover for Carnival Triumph in the spring of 2019 that will include renaming the ship to reflect its significant transformation. The ship will join Carnival’s Sunshine class and will be named Carnival Sunrise after a two-month-long refurbishment that will take place in Cadiz, Spain, starting March 1. The dry dock makeover will add all of Carnival’s wildly popular branded food, beverage and entertainment innovations, as well as update all staterooms in a broad spectrum of new accommodations providing guests fresh and exciting seagoing vacation choices.

Following a renaming ceremony, Carnival Sunrise will re-enter service with a series of five- to seven-day voyages from Norfolk, Va., beginning April 29, 2019, a summer schedule of four- to 14-day departures from New York commencing May 23, 2019, then move to Fort Lauderdale in October.

“The introduction of Carnival Sunrise will provide our guests with an array of exciting dining, bar and entertainment choices. The new Carnival Sunrise is part of our multi-billion-dollar ship enhancement program that is transforming our fleet on an unprecedented scale,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

Carnival Sunrise enhancements include the redesign of two luxurious Captain’s Suites adjacent to the navigational bridge offering floor-to-ceiling windows and extended balcony grand suites. All of the ship’s staterooms will be updated to offer island-inspired interiors with bright colors and soothing pastels inspired by the line’s Caribbean itineraries. Other new features will include:

Food Glorious Food!

• Cucina del Capitano: offering delicious Italian favorites and new Carnival classics served family-style in an engaging atmosphere reminiscent of a cozy Italian home.

• JavaBlue Café: this expanded version of the line’s popular coffee bars will offer lattes, cappuccinos and other caffeinated favorites, as well as “spiked” coffees made with liqueurs, and decadent confections.

• Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse: a classic American steakhouse offering mouth-watering steaks, gourmet appetizers, entrees and desserts, with impeccable service and understated ambiance.

• Bonsai Express: the success of the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurants has spawned this casual spot, featuring a mouth-watering array of sushi, sashimi, rolls and more.

• The Chef’s Table: a new multi-course dining experience hosted in a special glass-enclosed venue in the forward dining room.

• Cherry on Top: The “sweetest spot on board,” an expanded Cherry on Top features bulk candy, fanciful gifts, custom apparel and a Carnival Adventures shop.

• Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse: a casual open-air eatery featuring “real deal” BBQ favorites created by Food Network star Guy Fieri.

• Lido Marketplace: A casual poolside eatery boasting favorites like Seafood Shack offering lobster rolls and other New England-inspired fare; The Deli with sandwiches and paninis; Pizzeria del Capitano serving hand-tossed artisanal-style pies free of charge 24/7, and an expanded Swirls venue with complimentary ice cream and frozen yogurt.

Raising the Bar

• RedFrog Pub: Featuring the Caribbean’s best rums and beers – including Carnival’s own ThirstyFrog Red – enjoyed in a distinct British-West-Indies-meets-Key-West atmosphere.

• Piano Bar 88: A new twist on Carnival’s popular piano bar concept that amps up the excitement with themed nights, engaging new décor and spontaneous sing-along fun.

• Limelight Lounge: Home to the Punchliner Comedy Club featuring a hilarious line-up of comics which later transforms into a sizzling night club where guests can dance the night away.

• New Multi-Purpose Liquid Lounge: an expansive theater that’s home to captivating daytime and nighttime entertainment, including the line’s high-tech Playlist Productions revues and audience participation favorite Hasbro, The Game Show.

Open-Air Fun and Relaxation

• SportSquare: A suspended ropes course offering heart-racing views to the sea 150 feet below, basketball court, jogging track, ping pong, foosball, pool tables, and a nine-hole miniature golf course highlight this open-area recreation complex.

• WaterWorks: Featuring a 203-foot-long AquaTunnel slide and Carnival’s signature 212-foot-long Twister slide along with a 75-gallon

• PowerDrencher tipping bucket and kiddie area.

• Serenity Adult Only Retreat: An adult only oasis offering plush chaise lounges, whirlpools and oversized umbrellas, enhanced by dramatic sea views.

Expanded Cloud 9 Spa and More

• Cloud 9 Spa: Designed as the ultimate refuge for rest and relaxation, the health and wellness center offers an elaborate thermal suite, private treatment rooms, and the latest cardio and weight-training equipment.

• Modern, Spacious Facilities for Kids and Teens: including a new Camp Ocean, a colorful marine-inspired play area designed for kids ages 2-11, along with new spaces for Circle “C” aimed at 12- to 14-year olds and Club O2 geared to those 15-17.

• The Warehouse: promising fun for all ages with a variety of the latest video and arcade games.

• Expanded Retail Spaces: a mall-style shopping area lined with retail outlets offering fine jewelry, watches, fragrances, and more along with the line’s own branded spaces like Hip Fish and The Carnival Store.

“These new dining spaces and features complement many of Carnival’s signature food and beverage outlets that were added during previous renovations, including Guy’s Burger Joint developed in tandem with Guy Fieri,” said Gus Antorcha, Carnival’s chief operating officer, who has led the reimagination of Carnival Sunrise and many other ships in the fleet. “Carnival’s investments are part of an overall plan that is raising the bar on ship amenities and features, itineraries and offshore excursions that our guests are loving.”

Carnival Sunrise’s inaugural schedule from Norfolk kicks off with a seven-day cruise departing the Half Moone Cruise Center visiting Grand Turk, the private island of Half Moon Cay and Freeport departing April 29, 2019. A pair of five-day voyages departs May 12 and 17, 2019 calling at Nassau and Freeport and three six-day cruises departing May 6, and Oct. 14 and 20, 2019, visiting Half Moon Cay, Nassau and Freeport.

The ship will then reposition to New York for a series of four- to 14-day voyages beginning May 23, 2019. The program includes four- to eight-day Bermuda cruises, including long weekend sailings to the island departing Thursdays and returning Mondays, along with seven-day fall foliage cruises to New England and the Canadian Maritimes, and two different eight-day Caribbean itineraries with stops at the region’s top destinations. Several longer voyages will also be offered, including a 10-day exotic eastern Caribbean itinerary and a 14-day Carnival Journeys Panama Canal cruise highlighted by local dining and entertainment experiences and unique shipboard enrichment activities.

Carnival Sunrise will then reposition to Fort Lauderdale for four- and five-day cruises beginning Oct. 28, 2019. Four-day long weekend cruises will call at tropical ports like Half Moon Cay, Princess Cays, Grand Turk and Nassau, while five-day cruises will visit Cuba, as well as seaside destinations in The Bahamas, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Grand Turk.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Announces Efforts to Reduce Single-Use Plastics
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. which operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, announced the important next step in its efforts to reduce its environmental impact by eliminating single-use plastic straws across its fleet of 26 ships and two island destinations, Great Stirrup Cay and Harvest Caye. The Company anticipates that it will eliminate over 50 million plastic straws each year across its fleet with these changes.

As a member of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Alliance, the Company is actively working towards solutions that will mitigate plastic waste entering the ocean. The transition away from single-use plastics across the Company’s fleet and island destinations builds upon the Company’s environmental efforts already underway to increase sustainable sourcing, minimize waste to landfills, invest in emerging technologies and reduce CO2 emissions.

“Eliminating single-use plastic straws across our global fleet and island destinations builds on our global environmental program ‘Sail & Sustain’ and further reduces our environmental footprint," said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “As a member of the Trash Free Seas Alliance, we are committed to doing our part to protect the world’s oceans for future generations to enjoy.”

“We commend Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings for this important step to reduce single-use plastics,” said Janis Searles Jones, chief executive officer of Ocean Conservancy. “Plastic straws are just a fraction of the plastic in the ocean, but they are always among the top ten items collected during Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Coastal Cleanup and can be deadly to ocean wildlife, which is why we have long urged our supporters to skip the straw when they can.”

Founded in 2012, the Trash Free Seas Alliance brings together thought leaders from industry, conservation and academia to create a forum for pragmatic, real-world collaboration focused on the measurable reduction of ocean trash.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ global environmental program, ‘Sail & Sustain’, reflects the Company’s mission of providing truly exceptional cruise vacation experiences for all of its guests while minimizing its impact on the environment. To learn more about Norwegian’s commitment to environmental stewardship, visit the company’s website at http://www.nclhltd.com/Stewardship.

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Eliminates Single-Use Plastic Fleetwide
Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic announced today that they have successfully completed a comprehensive single-use plastics elimination program across their fleet. Lindblad's ships are now 100% free of all single-use plastic bottles, cups, straws and stirrers. The effort supports National Geographic's Planet or Plastic? campaign, a multiyear initiative aimed at raising awareness about the global plastic crisis and reducing the amount of plastic in the world's oceans.

"The ocean is under major assault on so many fronts, and its protection is both a business mission and a personal passion," stated Sven Lindblad, CEO of Lindblad Expeditions, ocean advocate and founding member of Ocean Elders. "It is enormously gratifying that our team has achieved this milestone in our elimination program. The health of our planet is dependent on our oceans, and it is essential that we change our behavior with regard to plastics."

"Lindblad Expeditions has been a valued partner since 2004, when we first started working together to offer extraordinary expedition cruises to some of the world's most fascinating places," said Gary E. Knell, CEO of National Geographic Partners. "Our shared passion for adventure and conservation made our alliance a natural fit, and their tremendous effort to eradicate single-use plastic reaffirms that. We are proud that Lindblad is taking action to make a positive impact on this pressing problem, and we hope that their efforts inspire other travel companies to do the same."

Lindblad Expeditions began working towards the elimination of avoidable plastic waste in 2007 when they banned single-use plastic water bottles. Instead, guests receive individual reusable stainless-steel bottles that may be refilled at filtered-water stations located around the vessels. Lindblad's commitment continues as they work with suppliers and seek partners to eliminate and reduce plastic packaging for the items they supply.

"The next phase in executing a broader reduction in our plastic packaging requires an industry-wide mandate to our suppliers to explore sustainable alternatives," Lindblad said.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 58.73 + 1.00%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 111.03 + 1.17%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.31 - 4.35%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 49.85 + 5.64%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which cruise ship was the first to provide passengers Internet access?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
When Carnival's 46,052 ton Holiday was built in 1985 she set the record as the largest cruise ship built in that particular country. In what country was she built? Bonus: Name the shipyard?

Answer - The MS Holiday set the record for the largest ship build in Denmark at Aalborg Vaerft.
courtesy of Byron Clayton, Singapore


Cruise News - July 23, 2018

Construction Begins On Celebrity Apex
Celebrity Cruises is poised to transform the way modern travelers experience the world – all over again – as the first piece of steel is cut on its newest ship, Celebrity Apex, at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard (formerly STX France) in Saint-Nazaire, France. When completed, Celebrity Apex will take her place as the height of modern luxury, so its name couldn't be more apt. The second ship in Celebrity's revolutionary Edge series, Celebrity Apex comes right in the wake of the industry's most anticipated new ship, Celebrity Edge.

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises, who attended the ceremony accompanied by her leadership team, said: "Welcoming Celebrity Apex into our family with the leadership team was a very special moment, especially when we all signed the ship silhouette cut from the first piece of steel."

Lutoff-Perlo added: "We are so grateful for our partnership with Chantiers de l'Atlantique and are thrilled to work on another very special ship together. The success and momentum for Celebrity Edge has been incredible, and with Celebrity Apex we will yet again show how we are taking our brand to the next level. We are offering our guests the best way to experience the world in modern luxury style."

Laurent Castaing, General Manager, Chantiers de l'Atlantique, said: "We are proud to celebrate the launch of another incredible Edge Class ship with Celebrity Cruises. The brand is known for many industry firsts so it's fitting that Celebrity Apex is the first to participate in a steel cutting ceremony under our new name Chantiers de l'Atlantique, another milestone of the great partnership we have built together."

Celebrity Apex is expected to make her debut in spring 2020, with the third and fourth Edge series ships arriving in Fall 2021 and Fall 2022, respectively

Princess Cruises to Build Two Next Generation LNG Cruise Ships
Princess Cruises today announced a memorandum of agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri S.p.A. to build two new cruise ships on a next-generation platform designed to further enhance an already world-class vacation experience for its guests. The new builds are slated to be delivered in late 2023 and spring 2025, respectively.

The new vessels will be Princess Cruises' first ships to be dual-fuel powered -- primarily by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), the marine industry's most environmentally friendly advanced fuel technology and the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel, which will significantly reduce air emissions and marine gasoil (MGO). The new ships, which will be the largest by capacity in the Princess Cruises fleet, will be built at Fincantieri's shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.

"This revolutionary platform for next-generation, LNG-powered cruise ships will introduce innovative design and leisure experiences driven by the future vacation and lifestyle trends of our guests – further evolving the already best-in-class Princess Cruises experience we deliver today," said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. "We look forward to collaborating with Fincantieri to bring our vision for this next- generation premium cruise ship into service," added Swartz.

The two ships will be 175,000 gross tons and will accommodate approximately 4,300 guests (lower berths). Specification details for the ship design, along with anticipated features and amenities of this all-new platform design for Princess Cruises, will be shared in the future.

Added Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri: "We are proud to extend our long-established partnership with Princess Cruises, a brand we have been tied to since our return to the cruise ship building industry in 1990. After so many years, we are ready to enter, together, a new era of this industry, increasingly aimed at reducing even more of our environmental impact. We proudly do this with an all-time record project, both in terms of size and technology. We believe that there are no more significant milestones than these to reaffirm our market-leading position. This builds upon the solid partnership between our country and Carnival Corporation -- the largest foreign investor in Italy – while at the same time building upon our technological strength and increasing employment."

In addition to today's news, Princess Cruises has three new Royal-class ships on order with Fincantieri, including its next new ship, Sky Princess, which is currently under construction and scheduled for delivery in October 2019. The two other Royal-class ships are planned for delivery in 2020 and 2022.

The agreement for Princess Cruises' next-generation cruise ships represent Carnival Corporation's 10th and 11th contracted LNG-based vessels and are part of the company's ongoing fleet enhancement strategy, aimed at creating excitement in the vacation market while accelerating demand for cruising, the fastest growing segment in the vacation industry. Carnival Corporation currently has 20 new ships under contract and scheduled for delivery between 2018 and 2025.

Lindblad Expeditions To Build An Additional Polar Expedition Vessel
Lindblad Expeditions today announced that its Board of Directors has authorized the building of a new polar expedition ship. This state-of-the-art vessel, which is anticipated to be delivered in 2021, will be the next phase of Lindblad's fleet expansion following the launch of the National Geographic Quest in July 2017, the addition of the National Geographic Venture in December 2018 and the delivery of the National Geographic Endurance in the first quarter of 2020.

As demand for high quality and authentic expedition travel continues to accelerate, both through market expansion as well as from sustained investment in their marketing and sales infrastructure, Lindblad is committed to expanding capacity to provide a growing audience with the opportunity to explore the world's most unique and remote locations.

This will be the fourth polar vessel in the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic fleet, joining the National Geographic Explorer and the National Geographic Orion, currently in operation, and the National Geographic Endurance, which is scheduled for delivery in early 2020. The new vessel will be designed as the ultimate expedition platform with a focus on immersing our guests in these amazing geographies.

Sven-Olof Lindblad, President and Chief Executive Officer, said "We are extremely excited to announce the further expansion of our expedition fleet. This is the next step of our long-term growth strategy to capitalize on the expanding demand for high quality adventure travel. By marrying additional capacity with a dedicated and growing loyal customer base and fifty years of experience, we will be able to build upon our proven track record of delivering unparalleled expeditions to the world's most remarkable destinations."

Norwegian Cruise Line Announces Updated 2019 and 2020 Itineraries
Norwegian Cruise Line today announced enhancements to its 2019 and 2020 itineraries to leverage the strong global demand environment in highly sought after destinations.

Norwegian Joy will join sister ship Norwegian Bliss sailing seasonally in Alaska in summer 2019 and will offer Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal voyages in winter 2019/2020. Norwegian Pearl will sail to Europe as the cruise line’s sixth ship in the region in summer 2019, while Norwegian Jade and Jewel will significantly expand Norwegian’s presence in Australasia in winter 2019/2020. Maintaining Norwegian Cruise Line’s commitment to serving the Chinese cruise market, Norwegian Spirit will sail seasonally in China beginning summer 2020.

“The booming demand environment in our core markets around the world, coupled with Norwegian Bliss’ record-breaking performance, continue to exceed our expectations,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “As a result, we are leveraging the strategic benefits of our growing fleet to quickly seize sizable opportunities in over performing, unserved and underserved markets to meet the demands of our global customer base and drive higher returns for our shareholders.”

Norwegian Joy to Sail Year-round on the West Coast of the United States

In April 2019, Norwegian Joy will reposition to Seattle to offer seven-day voyages to Alaska, replacing Norwegian Pearl as Norwegian Cruise Line’s third ship in the region, joining Norwegian Bliss and Jewel. Prior to her arrival in Seattle, Norwegian Joy will undergo approximately $50 million in upgrades to enhance her already popular features and bring her designs and offerings to be virtually identical to those of her sister ship, Norwegian Bliss, the newest and most successful ship in the line’s 51 year history. To complement Norwegian Bliss’ itineraries and provide guests with more places to explore and experience the natural beauty of Alaska, Norwegian Joy will cruise a variety of itineraries featuring Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Holkham Bay and Icy Strait Point, long recognized for its untouched wilderness, rich culture and fresh seafood. She will also call into Victoria, British Columbia.

“Norwegian Cruise Line expanded the Alaska cruise experience as the first line to sail to the state from Seattle over 24 years ago,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “I am extremely excited to further strengthen our presence in the region with the addition of Norwegian Joy, sister ship to Norwegian Bliss, the most successful ship in our 51 year history. With $50 million in enhancements including the addition of a Starbucks storeand enhanced restaurant, bar and entertainment options, Norwegian Joy will be a welcome addition for guests looking to cruise on a world-class ship in one of the world’s most sought after destinations.”

He continued, “On these sister ships, guests will experience incredible ocean and glacier views from our stunning observation lounges and they’ll have access to the best of the best at sea with entertainment options including Norwegian Joy’s Galaxy Pavilion, which features thrilling simulator rides and interactive video walls, as well as our race tracks and laser tag arenas, available on both ships.

Following her inaugural Alaska season, Norwegian Joy will sail to Los Angeles for a season of Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal voyages in winter 2019/2020. This move will mark a turning point in the historically underserved winter cruise market on the West Coast of the United States with the arrival of a premier, state-of-the-art cruise ship.

Norwegian Pearl to Offer New Itineraries in Europe

As Norwegian Joy enters the Alaska market in summer 2019, the 2,400 passenger Norwegian Pearl will deploy to Europe, further strengthening the line’s seasonal European deployment to six ships. She will offer new and varied itineraries from Amsterdam, a strategic pre-and-post cruise port where guests willhave easy access to the heart of the city as well Europe’s third largest and fastest growing airport. Norwegian Pearl will also embark on a variety of Mediterranean sailings from Rome (Civitavecchia), Barcelona, and Venice.

Norwegian Jewel and Jade to Deploy to Australia and Asia

Norwegian Joy’s seasonal sailings in Los Angeles in winter 2019/2020 allows for Norwegian Jewel, which will be refurbished this fall, to return to Australia/New Zealand, Asia and the South Pacific for a third year of seasonal cruises from Honolulu, Papeete, Sydney, Auckland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo (Yokohama).

Building even further on the line’s presence in the region, the 2,400 passenger Norwegian Jade will offer a season of sailings throughout Southeast Asia departing from Singapore and Hong Kong in winter 2019/2020. Port of call highlights include high demand locations such as Phuket, Langkawi, Penang, Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My) and Ha Long Bay. In addition, Norwegian Jade will offer several unique itineraries through the Suez Canal and Indian Ocean featuring calls in Greece, Israel, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Maldives, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

The deployment of Norwegian Jewel and Jade to the region is aimed to take full advantage of the flourishing source market in Australia, which remains the world’s highest-penetrated cruise market and one of its most desirable destinations.

Revitalized Norwegian Spirit to Serve China Market Seasonally Beginning Summer 2020

Norwegian Cruise Line remains committed to serving the Chinese cruise market and will deploy the 2,000 passenger Norwegian Spirit seasonally to the region beginning in summer 2020. Prior to her arrival, Norwegian Spirit will undergo a previously scheduled bow-to-stern revitalization as the final ship to undergo enhancements under the Norwegian Edge fleet refurbishment program. In February 2020 her journey from Europe to Asia will feature several exclusive sailings with new calls for Norwegian Cruise Line including South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles and Maldives.

HAL's Westerdam Sets Sail for the Far East in 2018-19
The mysteries of the Far East unfold for guests on Holland America Line's Westerdam when the ship embarks on its robust 2018 -19 season in Asia. From September 2018 through April 2019, the 1,916-guest Westerdam extensively explores China, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam on cruises ranging from 10 to 31 days.

Departing from Yokohama (Tokyo), Japan; Hong Kong and Shanghai, China; and Singapore, ancient temples and cultures steeped in tradition collide with soaring skyscrapers and bustling capitals. Ten different itineraries showcase the diversity of the countries while celebrating their histories that have been thousands of years in the making. Late departures and nine overnight ports allow extra time for exploration, while Hong Kong and Singapore departures provide an incredible opportunity for Holland America's exclusive Signature Experience pre-cruise tours.

"As travelers seek more meaningful and experiential vacations, our Asia itineraries remain in high demand for their depth of cultural exploration and once-in-a-lifetime experiences," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "For many, a cruise to the Far East is long-awaited and highly anticipated. To ensure we exceed their expectations, we designed Westerdam's season to be among the most comprehensive and memorable in the industry."

Westerdam kicks off the season with a 14-day North Pacific Crossing from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Yokohama (Tokyo), Japan. The ship then begins a series of voyages that explore the Far East, from Japan to Vietnam.

Westerdam's 16-day Far East Discovery cruise between Singapore and Hong Kong calls at Sanya, China; four ports in Vietnam, including an overnight stay in Halong Bay; Sihanoukville, Cambodia; Ko Samui and an overnight at Laem Chabang (Bangkok), Thailand. A 13-day Far East Discovery option eliminates Nha Trang in Vietnam and Sanya, while a 15-day Far East Discovery eliminates the overnight stay in Halong Bay, Vietnam.

The shortest itinerary of the season, Westerdam's 10-day East Asia roundtrip Hong Kong cruise, departs Dec. 10 and explores Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines.

Celebrating the first cruise of 2019, a 15-day Thailand & Vietnam itinerary sails roundtrip Singapore and offers an extensive exploration of Vietnam. Guests will experience four calls in the country, including an overnight in Da Nang (Hue). The cruise also includes an overnight at Laem Chabang (Bangkok) and calls at Ko Samui and Sihanoukville.

Westerdam's 14- or 15-day Taiwan & Japan cruise between Hong Kong and Shanghai features an overnight at Hong Kong or Shanghai, depending on embarkation port, and visits the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.

A Series of 14-Day Itineraries Round out the Ship's Asia Offerings

Cruising roundtrip from Shanghai, the China, South Korea & Japan cruise features two ports in each country, including overnight calls in Shanghai, Tianjin (Beijing) and Incheon (Seoul). The China Explorer from Hong Kong to Yokohama includes two ports in Japan and three ports in China, with overnights at Shanghai and Tianjin (Beijing).

Westerdam's Japan Explorer is a roundtrip Yokohama (Tokyo) journey with five ports in Japan, including an overnight at Kobe (Osaka); two calls in Taiwan; and a visit to Jeju (Cheju), South Korea. The final cruise of the season is a Japan & Russia itinerary roundtrip from Yokohama visiting an incredible eight ports in Japan and a northerly exploration to Vladivostok, Russia. The season concludes with a 15-day spring North Pacific Crossing between Yokohama (Tokyo) and Vancouver, encompassing ports in Japan and Alaska.

Collectors' Voyages Up to 31 Days Offer Longer Explorations of Several Countries

Back-to-back cruises can be booked together to form a longer Collectors' Voyage that provides a more in-depth exploration of the region. Combining up to two itineraries, the Asia Collectors' Voyages range from 23 to 31 days.

Grand Asia Voyage Offers an 82-Day Circumnavigation of the Pacific

Travelers looking to fulfill their ultimate bucket list adventure should take note of Holland America Line's 2018 Grand Asia & Pacific Voyage aboard Amsterdam. This 82-day cruise departing Sept. 30, 2018, circumnavigates the Pacific Ocean roundtrip from Los Angeles, Calif., and calls at 33 ports, with six overnight visits.

The 2018 Grand Asia & Pacific Voyage explores Alaska, Russia, Japan, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Australia, several South Pacific islands and Hawaii. Guests interested in expanding their cruise to explore more of the West Coast also have the choice of 89- and 87-day itineraries departing from Seattle, Wash., and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

For travelers who prefer a shorter vacation, the 2018 Grand Asia & Pacific Voyage features 12 segments: 39 days from Vancouver to Hong Kong; 41 days from Seattle to Hong Kong;15 days from Los Angeles to Yokohama; 34 days from Los Angeles to Hong Kong; 64 days from Seattle to Sydney; 62 days from Vancouver to Sydney; 57 days from Los Angeles to Sydney; 42 days from Yokohama to Sydney; 19 days from Yokohama to Hong Kong; 23 days from Hong Kong to Sydney; 48 days from Hong Kong to Los Angeles; and 25 days from Sydney to Los Angeles.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 58.15 - 0.43%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 109.75 + 0.61%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.32 - 4.35%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 49.85 + 5.64%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
When Carnival's 46,052 ton Holiday was built in 1985 she set the record as the largest cruise ship built in that particular country. In what country was she built? Bonus: Name the shipyard?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which current cruise line established its own training school for on board crew in Bintang, Indonesia in 1969?

Answer - Holland Ameica Line established its training center in Indonesia in 1969.
courtesy of Larry P. McDonald


Cruise News - July 16, 2018

NCL Orders Two More Leonardo Class Ships
Norwegian Cruise Line today announced it confirmed its previously announced options for the fifth and sixth Project Leonardo Class ships with Fincantieri S.p.A. for Norwegian Cruise Line for delivery in 2026 and 2027.

“These orders extend our disciplined and measured newbuild program and strong growth trajectory well into the future and will further drive long-term returns for our shareholders,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “Our six ship Leonardo Class fleet will allow us to broaden our deployment into strong performing and mature unserved and underserved markets and offer new experiences to our guests.”

At 140,000 gross tons and accommodating approximately 3,300 guests, this next generation class of ships will build upon the highly successful offering of freedom and flexibility found across Norwegian Cruise Line’s fleet, including the most recent Breakaway Plus Class ships, and feature a host of inventive designs that will further elevate its already award-winning guest experience. A priority of the prototype design is energy efficiency, with the aim of optimizing fuel consumption and reducing the impact on the environment. The smaller footprint will also broaden deployment opportunities around the world. Details on the many innovative guest-facing and first at sea features will be announced at a later date.

“Following the Breakaway Plus Class, the most successful class in our Company’s history, the highly anticipated Leonardo Class will fuel future growth with exciting and innovative offerings that will meaningfully drive demand from new and loyal returning guests alike,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line.

With today's announcement, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has seven ships on order for Norwegian Cruise Line and one for Regent Seven Seas Cruises for a total of eight vessels for delivery through 2027. The Company will take delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, in fall 2019.

TUI Cruises Selects Fincantieri To build Two LNG-fuelled Ships
TUI and Royal Caribbean Cruises joint venture (JV) TUI Cruises has chosen Fincantieri to build a pair of liquified natural gas (LNG) powered vessels.

To be built at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, the vessels are scheduled to be delivered in 2024 and 2026, respectively.

Each of the vessels will feature approximately 161,000t capacity, as well as include solutions to reduce fuel consumption and environmental impact in compliance with new industry regulations.

The vessels will also be built on a prototype project developed by Fincantieri to improve the existing features of modernity and sustainability of TUI Cruises.

TUI Cruises CEO Wybcke Meier said: “With the new class of ships, we are responding to the wishes of our guests and creating offerings that will also inspire new cruise passengers. As with the other ships in the fleet, the passenger/space ratio remains generous. The decision to run the two additional low-emission new builds is a logical continuation of our environmental strategy.”

TUI Cruises plans to commission two ships by 2019 and 2023, with a total bed capacity of nearly 18,800.

Based in Hamburg, Germany, the company has been providing cruise services since May 2009 across the country.

Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono said: “These will be the largest ships ever built in Italy: we proved once more we can provide the market with the best mix of reliability and innovation, pillars of Made in Italy and distinguishing features of Fincantieri in the global shipbuilding landscape. The project we developed and offered to the client allowed us to achieve this outstanding commercial record, which is not just about adding a new brand to our client portfolio, but also a confirmation of the absolutely cutting-edge technological content of our products.”

Earlier this month, Fincantieri unit Vard won a contract to design and build one luxury expedition cruise vessel for German cruise company Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

Celebrity Cruises Brings Entire Fleet To The Edge
Celebrity Cruises announced this week THE CELEBRITY REVOLUTION, a more than $500-million reimagining of the fleet in partnership with more than 500 leading architects, designers, and engineers designed to bring the rest of the brand's award-winning fleet to the Edge.

"We launched THE CELEBRITY REVOLUTION to do one thing – transform the way our guests experience the world. It began with the introduction of the industry-changing Celebrity Edge, and continued with the stunning Celebrity Flora," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "Our dedication to improving the way guests experience the world knows no bounds. We are taking our entire award-winning fleet to the edge and giving people the vacation they truly deserve."

THE SUITE LIFE JUST GOT SWEETER

Transforming the brand's award-winning ships gave Celebrity the opportunity to bring its already world-class suite experience on board Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Infinity, and Celebrity Summit to lavish new heights with the help of visionary designer Kelly Hoppen, MBE. She will also infuse the newly added Reflection Suite and Signature Suites (found today on Celebrity Reflection) to Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Equinox, and Celebrity Silhouette, with her signature style – a subtle, coordinated fusion of East meets West, with clean lines, neutral tones, and a warm, inviting opulence.

"This was a new and exciting challenge to recreate something stylish and luxurious yet totally different from the accommodations that I have designed for Celebrity Edge," said Hoppen. "I wanted to invoke a feeling of timeless luxury that welcomed guests into their own haven. Your bedroom is where you sleep and where you wake, two of the most important times of day, especially when you are on vacation. It was important to create space, harmony and luxury within a home away from home setting and I think we achieved this balance perfectly."

With Celebrity Edge, the brand introduced an exclusive new sanctuary for all Suite Class guests called The Retreat. And now, Celebrity is bringing its most luxurious experiences fleet-wide. Every ship will offer The Retreat Sundeck and The Retreat Lounge, both strikingly designed by Hoppen. In imagining The Retreat Sundeck, she has created a chic, open-air hideaway with the feel of a high-end resort, where guests can unwind on plush loungers, sip tantalizing cocktails, and savor refreshing treats. At The Retreat Lounge (formerly Michael's Club), Hoppen has designed a warm and sophisticated atmosphere.

"REVOLUTIONARY" ACCOMMODATIONS

When redesigning the accommodations, every detail was carefully thought through with guest comfort at the front of mind. Celebrity collaborated with renowned international hospitality design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) to transform the staterooms on board Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Infinity, and Celebrity Summit, plus the staterooms and many of the suites on board Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Reflection into a statement about modern luxury.

"Every detail of our staterooms has been elevated, every comfort refined," said Brian Abel, Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations, Celebrity Cruises. "By the end of THE CELEBRITY REVOLUTION the entire fleet will have the same quality, design essence, and consistency of modern luxury, bringing our fleet to the edge."

All staterooms will feature a fresh, chic design, rivaling the world's best boutique hotels. They will also be fitted with Celebrity's eXhale bedding featuring exclusive luxurious cashmere mattresses, RFID locks, pervasive Xcelerate and Bluetooth capabilities.

"REVOLUTIONARY" CULINARY

Celebrity is always looking for new ways to open the world, not only through the places the brand visits, but through globally inspired culinary experience, as well.

Guest-favorite restaurant Qsine will be added across the fleet and completely renovated, now offering the brand's virtual Le Petit Chef experience, created by the world-famous artists of Skullmapping and presented by TableMation exclusively for Celebrity. Oceanview Café will be redesigned with an open, airy, marketplace-inspired design offering guests island after island of international delicacies, while the already-stunning Main Restaurants will undergo a beautiful redesign, with new textures and new finishes added throughout.

EVERY DETAIL IS BEING TAKEN TO THE EDGE

Even more groundbreaking innovations are on the horizon with THE CELEBRITY REVOLUTION, including:

• Expansion of the new SEA Thermal Suite – first introduced on Celebrity Edge – to offer an ahh-inspiring array of therapeutic spa experiences at sea

• Exclusive new shopping experiences featuring sought-after brands and designers, such as Shinola, John Hardy, and Hublot, plus state-of-the-art digital photo galleries that make browsing vacation memories a snap

• Elevated bars and lounges, including the newly reimagined Passport Bar and an expansion of Celebrity's popular Gastrobar concept, serving more than 40 craft beers, creative cocktails, and gourmet comfort food

• More exciting upgrades to public venues all throughout each ship, including The Hideaway, Team Earth, The Library, and more

HAL Announces Extended Hawaii Cruises for 2018-19
From fall 2018 through spring 2019, two Holland America Line ships will say "Aloha" to the stunning, sun-drenched islands of Hawaii. Guests interested in exploring the famed island chain can choose from nine cruises with itineraries ranging from 16 to 20 days aboard Eurodam and Amsterdam. Hawaii sailings depart from Seattle, Washington; Vancouver, British Columbia; and San Diego and Los Angeles, California.

Most itineraries feature an overnight call in Honolulu, where guests have extra time to visit Pearl Harbor, relax on Waikiki Beach, take in the breathtaking views from Diamond Head State Monument or spend the evening enjoying traditional Hawaiian food and entertainment at an authentic luau. The cruises also call at Hilo, Nawiliwili and Lahaina, with most adding a call at Kona.

"Hawaii is synonymous with paradise — from the stunning scenery to the laid-back, friendly culture — and these islands beckon cruisers to come explore, relax and become enchanted with their idyllic ambiance," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "We are committed to providing guests with an immersive and memorable vacation, so our Hawaii itineraries are further enriched with unique onboard offerings that bring Hawaiian cultural activities and cuisine on board throughout the voyage."

To kick off the season, Eurodam departs Seattle Sept. 29, 2018, for an 18-day Circle Hawaii cruise that calls at Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia, before heading to the Hawaiian ports of Nawiliwili, Honolulu, Lahaina and Hilo. Guests also can choose to embark two days later, Oct. 1, and sail roundtrip from Vancouver on a 16-day sailing.

A second 18-day voyage is available aboard Eurodam Nov. 11, 2018, conveniently sailing roundtrip from San Diego. Guests will visit the same Hawaiian ports, as well as calls at Kona, Hawaii, and Ensenada, Mexico. Those planning for a holiday getaway can enjoy a comparable itinerary on Amsterdam's 17-day Hawaii Holiday cruise, sailing roundtrip from Los Angeles Dec. 21, 2018.

In 2019, three similar itineraries are available aboard Eurodam, including two 17-day sailings departing Feb. 3 and Feb. 20, as well as a 16-day sailing, embarking April 13. Cruisers interested in extending their vacation can lengthen the April 13 cruise and disembark in Vancouver after visiting Victoria for a 20-day voyage.

Guests who wish to dive deeper into the South Pacific can select Eurodam's 28-day Hawaii, Tahiti and Marquesas voyage March 9, 2019. Sailing roundtrip from San Diego, cruisers will enjoy visits to six ports in French Polynesia – including overnights in both Bora Bora and Papeete – as well as two ports in Hawaii and a call at Fanning Island. Cruisers can further their exploration of the region on the Amsterdam's 51-day Tales of the South Pacific voyage Oct. 28, 2019. Sailing roundtrip San Diego, the ship will visit Hawaii, Tahiti, as well as calls in America Samoa, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga.

A Magical Winter Holiday Awaits Aboard Disney Cruise Line
This year, unwrap a holiday adventure for the whole family: a cruise aboard the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream or Disney Fantasy, all decked out with holiday cheer.

Starting early November, Disney Cruise Line adds sparkle to each ship during Very Merrytime Cruises, with traditional “turkey day” fanfare, Christmas feasts, “snow flurries” and more. During these voyages, special stem-to-stern holiday events include:

• “Mickey’s Tree-Lighting Magic” in the atrium lobby on the first night of the cruise, where Disney characters lead holiday carols and the lighting of the glittering, three-deck-tall tree.

• “Santa’s Winter Wonderland Ball” in the atrium lobby, where Disney cruisers welcome the guests of honor, Santa and Mrs. Claus, with a grand celebration featuring Broadway-style entertainment, favorite Disney characters and classic holiday tunes. This evening of enchantment is made complete when a special pair of royal sisters joins the party and causes a flurry of “frozen” fun as a magical snowfall overtakes the atrium.

• Dickens-inspired carolers carrying the spirit of the holidays throughout the ship while singing holiday classics, sometimes with the help of favorite Disney friends. At the end of the cruise, children will have the opportunity to join the carolers onstage for a special farewell show.

• Family holiday activities including building gingerbread houses and meeting Santa Claus.

• Youth holiday crafts such as decorating stockings and gingerbread men cookies, making holiday cards and creating holiday animation cells.

• “Deck the Deck Holiday Party,” a tropical celebration with Disney friends leading games such as hula hooping and limbo under oversized candy canes, along with dances for the whole family like the “Yuletide Slide” and a conga line around the pool.

• A special holiday edition of the cheerful farewell celebration on the final night of the cruise, with beloved Disney characters and the ship’s crew in an engaging musical finale led by Mickey Mouse.

On Thanksgiving Day, guests will enjoy a bountiful Thanksgiving Day feast and visits from Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse dressed in traditional Thanksgiving attire. Also during the special Thanksgiving voyages, NFL football games will be broadcast live on the ships’ outdoor, jumbo LED screens – Funnel Vision – located near the family pool.

On Christmas morning at the atrium lobby tree, Santa Claus and his helpers will have a surprise for all the kids, and guests will delight in a special musical performance from the children. A traditional Christmas dinner will be served that night in the dining rooms.

Christmas services will be held on Christmas Day with a midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Hanukkah services will be held each day, Dec. 2 to Dec. 10.

When the ships stop at Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay, during the holidays, the celebration continues with “snow flurries,” a decked-out Christmas tree, Disney character meet-and-greets and holiday island music.

To celebrate the holidays, the Disney Magic sails four-, five- and seven-night Bahamian cruises, five- and six-night Eastern Caribbean cruises, and five-night Western Caribbean cruises departing Nov. 10 to Dec. 23; the Disney Wonder sails four-, six- and seven-night Western Caribbean cruises and seven-night Bahamian cruises departing from Nov. 2 to Dec. 21; the Disney Dream sails three- and four-night Bahamian cruises departing from Nov. 9 to Dec. 24; and the Disney Fantasy sails seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises departing from Nov. 10 to Dec. 22.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 58.40 + 0.79%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 109.08 + 0.86%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.38 - 6.12%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 47.19 - 1.21%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which current cruise line established its own training school for on board crew in Bintang, Indonesia in 1969?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Some of the inside cabins P&O's s/s Canberra had an interesting feature that made them brighter than inside cabins on most other cruise ships. What was the feature?

Answer - The interesting feature that Canberra had that made some of the inside cabins were windows that looked out into a "court". These cabins, called "court cabins", were built in such a way that the they were staggered down the corridor and the wall of the innermost cabin jutted slightly passed that of the more outer cabin and had a window placed there - thus light from the outside would penetrate these inside cabins. They were usually 3 deep.
courtesy of Timothy Edgecombe


Cruise News - July 9, 2018

MSC Cruises Announces New Cruise Terminal At PortMiami
MSC Cruises and Miami-Dade county announced the signing of an agreement for extended preferential berthing rights as well as of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the construction of a new Cruise Terminal AAA at PortMiami.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, commented: "The new agreement and expanded partnership with PortMiami and Miami-Dade County is another key step forward in the business growth of MSC Cruises, as we continue to strengthen our global footprint, with a strategic focus on North America."

PortMiami is the Company's exclusive home-port in the U.S. The new agreement extends MSC Cruises' existing Saturday preferential berthing rights also to Sundays. Additionally, the new terminal — which is projected to be completed by October 2022 — will be able to accommodate MSC Cruises' next-generation, still under construction MSC World Class cruise ships carrying up to 7,000 guests.

Currently the MSC Seaside, which debuted only a few months ago in late 2017, sails year around from Miami to the Caribbean from the recently completed Terminal F. MSC Divina also sails seasonally to the Caribbean from October through March, and MSC Armonia will join MSC Cruises' North American-based fleet beginning year-round cruises to Havana, Cuba in December 2018. In addition, as of November 2019, MSC Meraviglia, the Company's largest ship at 171,598 GRT with the capacity to carry 5,714 cruise guests (4,488 at double occupancy), will join the other three ships at PortMiami.

"PortMiami is committed to providing a world-class experience to its guests and thanks to a long-standing collaborative relationship with Miami-Dade County we are thrilled that in less than 18 months MSC Cruises will have four ships sailing from the Port," said Rick Sasso, Chairman of MSC Cruises USA. "This will also allow us to make a significant additional contribution to the economy of Miami and the county in its role as the Capital of the Cruise World, especially thanks to the large percentage of international guests traveling to Miami and South Florida to embark and disembark from MSC Cruises ships calling PortMiami. We now look forward to further extending our partnership with the Port and working closely on the development of the new cruise terminal AAA."

"In 2017, MSC Cruises worked with PortMiami on the completion of Terminal F, home to MSC Seaside, the first MSC Cruises ship to be built specifically for North American market and the Caribbean," said Roberto Fusaro, President of MSC Cruises USA. "The construction of another cruise terminal is further testament of our commitment to U.S. travel partners and their guests, as it will allow us to continue to enhance our service, starting right from embarkation."

"Investing in PortMiami's infrastructure positions Miami-Dade County as a global destination for visitors," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. "The construction of a new cruise terminal AAA with the capacity to berth an additional 7,000-passenger cruise ship represents thousands of jobs and increased opportunities for our community. We are grateful for MSC Cruises continued partnership."

"We are proud and extremely honored by MSC's commitment to PortMiami and Miami-Dade County," said Chairwoman of the Miami-Dade County Economic Development and Tourism Committee Rebeca Sosa. "MSC's continued partnership is a big win for the growth and expansion of tourism in Miami-Dade County."

Puerto Vallarta Announces The Return of Carnival Miracle
The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board announced this week the return of Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Miracle with its first call to Puerto Vallarta in seven years. Connecting San Diego and Puerto Vallarta, the ship is scheduled to make its call on December 2019.

Carnival Miracle will join the 2019 winter season offering 10 voyages from the Port of San Diego. The schedule kicks off on December 1, 2019, with a seven-day cruise to the Mexican Riviera featuring stops in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas.

Carnival Miracle is a 963-foot long vessel with a 2,124 guest capacity. The ship has approximately 920 crew members and features 12 decks, several lounges, a variety of restaurants, waterslides and several other amenities.

In addition to Carnival Cruise Line, other cruise lines that sail from the Port of San Diego to Puerto Vallarta include Holland America Line and Disney Cruise Line.

Puerto Vallarta continues to be a great magnet for the cruise industry, the maritime terminal will receive 154 cruises this year with 404,734 people on board approximately, which represents 9 percent more than in 2017 when 145 vessels arrived.

Calls to the destination are expected to increase annually and Puerto Vallarta's International Port (API) is preparing with an estimated $22 million USD extensive renovation and construction project that will improve port infrastructure, generate direct and indirect jobs, incentivize the Mexican Riviera's route and the Port - City link.

In charge of the 72,000 f² construction site is local company Puerto Mágico PV. It will include La Hacienda, a new passenger center, a Tequila distillery, an art gallery, artisan shops, a cultural center; El Nido, a new commercial center with a food court, a 400-car parking lot; and what is set to be the biggest aquarium in Latin America. The port will be the first cruise port in the world to also be accessible to non-passenger, open to visitors and local residents. The project is scheduled to be unveiled before the end of 2018.

P&O release details of Iona’s Grand Atrium
Having recently announced the name of its latest new ship, P&O Cruises has just unveiled details of Iona’s impressive centrepiece – an impressive Grand Atrium with uninterrupted panoramic views of the sea, framed by glazed walls stretching three decks high.

The Grand Atrium will sit at the heart of Iona, spanning three decks, an will offer a lively focal point that encapsulates the spirit of the ship.

Created by architecture and interior design practice Jestico + Whiles, the creators of W Hotel (London), Aqua Shard (restaurant in the Shard) and The Yas Hotel (Abu Dhabi) it will include a sweeping staircase, taking guests through the open area, designed to complement and reflect the outdoor views.

Describing the vision, which guests will experience when the ship launches in 2020, the project architect Cecilia Vodret said; “The sea becomes the hero of the triple-height space; the sinuous curves are shaped around it, framing and complementing the views to outside. The staircase is a sculptural centrepiece with its sweeping arrival on each deck.”

P&O Cruises senior vice president, Paul Ludlow said: “We’ve set out to make sure the sea is the star on Iona, and the design of the Grand Atrium tells you so much about how special she is going to be. Balancing intimate spaces with larger social areas, guests will be wowed by the three storey high glass walls and the ever changing view they reveal. From the moment they step onto the staircase, I know guests will be swept away by the beautiful design.”

Iona is currently being built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg and will be launched in May 2020. Holidays on Iona will go on sale in September 2018.

Princess Cruises Launches "Summer of Shark"
In celebration of the 30th anniversary of Discovery Channel's Shark Week, television's longest running must-see summer event, Princess Cruises has transformed Shark Week into a full season, with its first-ever "Summer of Shark" onboard Caribbean Princess for its summer sailings in the Caribbean.

This past weekend Princess Cruises in partnership with Discovery, Inc., unveiled a Phillip Colbert-designed shark decal on the starboard surface of the Caribbean Princess ship during the official launch of its "Summer of Shark" activities, honoring these magnificent underwater creatures.

As part of the Discovery at SEA program, Caribbean Princess will be the one ship in the fleet that will be celebrating sharks all summer. She will have special themed designed public spaces including elevators, restaurants and casino tables. Additionally, select sailings in Alaska and the United Kingdom will have Shark Week rolled out starting July 7. Guests onboard all ships will also get to view programming from Shark Week 2018 including "Great White Abyss," available exclusively on Princess Cruises in June, in advance of it airing on the Discovery Channel during Shark Week, which begins July 22.

Children and teens aboard these sailings will have shark-themed fun in the newly redesigned Camp Discovery teen and youth centers. Kids ages 3 – 17 can turn into their favorite type of shark with glitter tattoos and shark face painting, or create arts and crafts to take home, including shark teeth jewelry and shark clay models. Adults can get into the spirit with specialty cocktails that have been carefully curated onboard including a Shark Attack Margarita and the tropical Great Blue Shark.

Beyond these Shark Week themed cruises, those looking to have their very own Shark Week experiences can book the ultimate adrenaline rush with Animal Planet Exclusive and Recommended excursions such as the Princess Exclusive Great White Shark Diving Encounter in Honolulu or Whale Shark Encounter in La Paz, Mexico.

Each year, Shark Week takes fascinated viewers on a week-long journey to the depths of the sea to uncover the secrets of the ocean's top creature. Airing around the globe, Shark Week is a pop culture phenomenon that thrills fans of all ages with dynamic programming around these often-misunderstood sea creatures.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 57.94 + 1.38%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 108.15 + 4.03%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.47 + 1.38%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 47.77 + 1.51%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Some of the inside cabins P&O's s/s Canberra had an interesting feature that made them brighter than inside cabins on most other cruise ships. What was the feature?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
This week's question comes from our...Before they were Stars...file. Before she became famous as one of the original "Love Boats" the Pacific Princess sailed from New York to Bermuda under this name.

Answer - The Pacific Princess, the original "Love Boat" sailed as the Sea Venture before being sold to Princess Cruises in 1973.
courtesy of Larry P. MacDonald


Cruise News - July 2, 2018

Holland America Selling Prinsendam To Phoenix Reisen
Holland America Line announced that Prinsendam has been sold and will leave its fleet July 1, 2019 and transfer to the German cruise company Phoenix Reisen. Following the sale, the 37,983-ton, 835-guest Prinsendam is being chartered back to Holland America Line to continue sailing its planned voyages through July 1, 2019.

Prinsendam's itineraries from July 1, 2019, onward are scheduled to be assimilated by Rotterdam, Volendam and Veendam. Holland America Line is reaching out to booked guests and their travel professionals to re-accommodate guests on these cruises.

"Prinsendam has proudly served our guests since 2002, and we share in the fondness that many of our loyal cruisers have for this special ship," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "As we look to the future and focus on delivering the programming and innovations that our guests are asking for, we remain focused on exceeding guest expectations on every cruise and will continue to offer the unique itineraries that Prinsendam sailed on our other, smaller ships."

Prinsendam was built in 1988 as Royal Viking Sun for Royal Viking Line. The ship was operated by Cunard Line from 1994 through 1998 and then transferred to Seabourn Cruise Line, where it became Seabourn Sun in 1999. In 2002 the ship joined the Holland America Line fleet and was renamed Prinsendam.

Phoenix Reisen is a Germany-based travel agency that also operates a fleet of cruise ships and first began operating cruises under its own brand in 1988. Today, its ships include ms Amadea, ms Artania, ms Albatros and ms Deutschland, and the company also operates approximately 50 riverboats.

Carnival Glory Rescues NCL Crew Member
On Sunday, July 1 at approximately 2:15 pm EDT, the crew of Carnival Glory rescued a 33-year-old crew member from Norwegian Getaway who had been drifting in the water approximately 21 miles north of Cuba. Norwegian Cruise Line had reported him missing on Saturday. The NCL crew member is being treated by Carnival Glory’s shipboard medical team.

Carnival Glory departed Miami on Saturday, June 30 and was at sea en route to Cozumel. At 1 pm EDT, a hotel steward aboard the ship reported seeing a person in the water and notified bridge officers who quickly started rescue operations, including reducing speed, reversing course, and lowering a lifeboat to retrieve the man.

“This is nothing short of miraculous,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Kudos to the Carnival Glory team for this amazing effort to rescue a fellow seafarer.”

Carnival Glory is on a seven-day Western Caribbean cruise.

Seabourn Signs Letter Of Intent To Build Two Expedition Ships
Seabourn announced today that it has signed a Letter of Intent for the construction of two new ultra-luxury expedition ships with a new partnership between shipbuilders T.Mariotti and Damen, who will collaborate on the construction of the vessels under a common name MARIOTTI DAMEN Cruise.

The new ships will be a brand new innovative design, created specifically for the ultra-luxury expedition traveler, and will include many features that have made Seabourn ships so successful as well as a host of unique features designed to enhance the expedition experience. The first delivery is expected in June 2021 and the second ship is anticipated in May 2022.

The 170 meter, 23,000 gross ton vessels will add new capacity for Seabourn in Antarctica, the Arctic, and other exotic destinations around the world while meeting PC6 Polar Class standards. Each will feature 132 luxurious oceanfront veranda suites, which will be home for up to 264 guests.

"This is a groundbreaking moment for Seabourn and for luxury travelers, who will now find a new standard of authentic yet luxurious expedition adventures in new and amazing destinations few people will ever see," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "The combination of immersive experience, fine accommodations, and sumptuous amenities offered by these new ships builds on the success of our current product lineup and further demonstrates our leadership as innovators as we continue offering the finest ultra-luxury cruises available."

As vessels built exclusively for expedition travel, the ships will offer amenities designed to deliver an unparalleled guest experience in some of the most remote areas in the world. A new and exciting offering will be two submarines carried onboard, providing an unforgettable view of the world beneath the ocean's surface. The ships will also be designed to carry a complement of kayaks and 24 Zodiac inflatable boats, which have operated as a part of the highly successful Ventures by Seabourn program offered in select destinations around the world.

"It's been amazing to watch the growth of our expedition-style experiences since our first sailing to Antarctica in 2013 through today, where we now offer the Ventures by Seabourn program in a number of desirable destinations around the world," said Robin West, vice president of Expedition Operations and Planning for Seabourn. "A year ago we started developing the concept for this next chapter of our expedition story with dedicated ships built to take luxury travelers to the most coveted places on the planet and they will be thrilled to see these remote destinations in Seabourn style."

Seabourn will announce design and service details for the new ships beginning later this year. Specific details about itineraries and booking availability will be released in early 2019. The first ship is currently planned to sail in the Arctic in late summer 2021, with a full winter season in Antarctica to follow.

Onboard crew will include outstanding and well-traveled expedition teams comprised of experienced wilderness experts, scientists, historians and Zodiac operators. During each sailing, team members regularly interact with guests, providing keen insight to deliver a rich holistic travel experience. These fascinating, accomplished experts are also part of the Seabourn Conversations program, providing in-depth insights into the history, ecology and culture of the places they visit. Their valuable insights are offered both in complimentary formal presentations on a variety of topics and in more casual conversations over meals or at leisure.

Costa Holds Coin Ceremony for Costa Smeralda
Costa Cruises celebrated the traditional coin ceremony for its new ship, Costa Smeralda, yesterday, July 4, at the Meyer shipyard in Turku, Finland, one of the biggest shipbuilding complexes in the world.

Entering service in 2019, Costa Smeralda will be the first cruise ship to be marketed broadly to consumers around the globe, particularly in Europe and Italy, that will be fully powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), the world’s cleanest burning fossil fuel.

With dual-fuel engines, Costa Smeralda will be fully powered by LNG while in port and at sea – an environmental breakthrough that will improve air quality as LNG prevents emissions of particulate matter and sulfur oxides almost entirely at sea and in port. It also significantly reduces the emission of nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide.

Costa Smeralda represents further evidence of the pioneering and innovative spirit that characterizes the Costa Group, the market leader in Europe and Asia for cruising with AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises and Costa Asia.

During the ceremony, some commemorative coins were positioned along the keel of the ship as a symbol of good fortune for members of the crew, passengers and future voyages. This symbolic moment, which is part of shipbuilding tradition, was celebrated with an event attended by the senior management of Costa Cruises and the Meyer Turku shipyard. Elisabetta Moraci, a 28-year-old from Messina, Italy, second deck officer in the Costa fleet, served as godmother of the event.

“We celebrate this symbolic moment for our new ship with great enthusiasm,” said Neil Palomba, president of Costa Cruises. “With LNG a breakthrough in fuel technology, Costa Smeralda represents a major innovation for the international market and an important step toward setting new standards for the entire sector. Costa Group is the market leader in Europe and Asia, and we continue to make sustainable tourism a key part of our industry leadership. Our strategy of ongoing innovation and continuous improvement will provide a significant boost to the development of LNG as an alternative fuel technology in the cruise industry.”

Costa Group, along with its sister brands within Carnival Corporation’s global portfolio, has been an industry leader in promoting and developing sustainable and environmental solutions. In addition to the use of LNG for cruise ships, Costa Group and Carnival Corporation’s global cruise brands have been industry leaders in pioneering the use of exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) in the small confines of a cruise ship. Considered an environmental breakthrough, EGCS is installed on about 60 percent of ships in the Costa Group and Carnival Corporation fleets. The use of LNG and EGCS will both play an important role in further improving the impact of Costa Group’s marine operations.

“The coin ceremony marks the beginning of the hull assembly for the ship. From here our design and steel construction efforts will start to turn into an actual ship, so a very exciting time for us shipbuilders. We are very happy that Costa Cruises has entrusted with the design and the construction of this sophisticated LNG powered ship with a unique architectural design that truly expresses the Costa spirit. Now we are bringing our designs and plans to life,” said CEO of Meyer Turku Jan Meyer.

Added Palomba: “In addition to being a ship that represents the latest advancements in fuel technology and environmental impact, Costa Smeralda and its to-be-named sister ship expected in 2021, will be unique in terms of the services offered on board and the design. She will represent the best expression to date of our brand promise to deliver ‘Italy’s finest’ to our guests, which characterizes and differentiates Costa Cruises internationally. Costa Smeralda will create further opportunities to welcome new and existing guests into the exciting and immersive environment of a next-generation cruise ship, offering them an unforgettable vacation experience.”

In total, the Costa Group has 26 ships in service, which equates to 74,000 beds. Seven new ships will be coming into service between 2018 and 2023, including two for Costa Cruises, two for Costa Asia and three for AIDA Cruises, representing a total investment of over 6 billion euros. Once these seven new ships have entered service, the Costa Group’s capacity will have increased by over 50 percent to meet rising consumer demand for cruising over the next several years.

With a gross tonnage of more than 180,000 tons, Costa Smeralda will offer over 2,600 rooms and will enter service in Oct. 2019. Delivery of a second vessel, the sister ship of Costa Smeralda, also built by Meyer-Turku, is expected in 2021.

Costa Smeralda and its sister ship will be the first ships to be marketed broadly to global consumers that will use LNG to generate 100 percent of their energy, both in port and at sea, contributing to environmental protection and to achieving the ambitious sustainability goals set by Costa Cruises and its parent company Carnival Corporation.

Costa Smeralda’s debut is expected on Oct. 20, 2019, with a 15-day maiden cruise from Hamburg to Savona. The itinerary includes two-day stopovers in some of the cities with the richest history and culture in Europe, including Hamburg, Rotterdam, Lisbon, Barcelona and Marseille.

The Costa Smeralda christening ceremony will be celebrated in grand style in Savona on Nov. 3, 2019. The six-day inaugural cruise will depart from Savona on Nov. 4, 2019, and sail to Barcelona, Marseilles and Civitavecchia (Rome). Costa Smeralda will then continue to sail around the Western Mediterranean until April 2020, offering weeklong cruises including Marseille, France; Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, Spain; and Civitavecchia, La Spezia and Savona, Italy

Carnival To Offer Seasonal Program From San Diego Aboard Carnival Miracle
Carnival Cruise Line today announced that it will return to the Port of San Diego for the first time in seven years when Carnival Miracle arrives in late 2019.

Carnival Miracle will operate a winter schedule of three- to 15-day voyages from San Diego from December 2019 to February 2020. The schedule kicks off with a seven-day cruise to the Mexican Riviera departing Dec. 1, 2019, and also includes two longer-length Carnival Journeys voyages – 14- and 15-day Hawaii adventures visiting popular destinations throughout the Aloha State departing Dec. 8, 2019 and Jan. 17, 2020, respectively.

Carnival Miracle’s San Diego-based program also includes two five-day voyages that spend two days in Cabo San Lucas departing Dec. 22, 2019 and Jan. 12, 2020, along with two three-day getaways visiting Ensenada Dec. 27, 2019 and Jan. 3, 2020. There’s also a special four-day New Year’s Baja Mexico cruise departing Dec. 30, 2019, as well as a six-day cruise that includes two days in Cabo San Lucas and a day-long visit to Ensenada departing Jan. 6, 2020.

The schedule concludes with a 13-day Panama Canal Carnival Journeys cruise that departs San Diego Feb. 1 and arrives in Miami Feb. 14, 2020.

In addition to visiting some of the world’s most beautiful destinations, guests sailing on Carnival Journeys cruises enjoy unique on-board activities during which they can sample local cuisine and enjoy entertainment and cultural opportunities within the various ports of call. Activities focusing on topics such as photography, cooking, arts and crafts and celestial navigation, along with a 1980s-themed “Throwback Sea Day,” are also offered.

Carnival Cruise Line is the leader in West Coast cruising with three year-round ships carrying more than 500,000 guests annually from the newly renovated Long Beach Cruise Terminal. Carnival will further strengthen its commitment to Southern California when the new 3,954-passenger Carnival Panorama launches year-round seven-day cruises from Long Beach – the first new cruise ship on the West Coast in 20 years.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 57.15 - 2.37%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 103.96 - 1.36%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.45 - 7.05%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 47.06 - 3.51%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
This week's question comes from our...Before they were Stars...file. Before she became famous as one of the original "Love Boats" the Pacific Princess sailed from New York to Bermuda under this name.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What do the "Single turn", "Williamson turn" and "Scharnow turn" all have in common (...besides being types of turns, of course)?

Answer - All these 'turns' on a ship at sea have to do with finding a man overboard. These turns are used to bring the ship back around to the position where the person was reported as being overboard.
courtesy of E. Mc Intyre, Florida


Cruise News - June 25, 2018

Costa Celebrates Float-out of Costa Venezia
Costa Cruises and Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, one of the largest shipbuilding groups in the world, today celebrated the official float-out ceremony of Costa Venezia – the brand's first ship designed and built specifically for the China market. The ceremony was held at the shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, where the ship is being built.

More than just a new addition to Costa Cruises' existing China-based fleet, the Costa Venezia marks a major step for the company as its first-ever ship built purposely for the Chinese market. Designed with the specific leisure and entertainment preferences of Chinese guests in mind, Costa Venezia will bring to life the passions of Venetian and Italian culture through such spectacles as the Carnival of Venice and the city's famed gondolas.

Guests will also be able to sample the delights of fine Italian dining, luxury Italian shopping and world-class Italian entertainment while enjoying home comforts such as a range of Chinese cuisines and Chinese-style karaoke bars.

Expected to set sail in March 2019, Costa Venezia will arrive in China next May after a 53-day voyage following in the footsteps of Marco Polo. For the inaugural cruise, Costa Venezia will depart from Trieste in Italy and make its way through the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and southeast and east Asia before arriving at its final home of Shanghai on May 18, 2019. Following this once-in-a-lifetime journey, Costa Venezia will continue treating passengers to unique cruises with an Italian twist throughout east Asia.

As part of today's float-out ceremony, the new Costa ship officially reached the sea for the first time. The celebration followed the protocol provided by the seafaring tradition for such occasions, by flooding the basin where the ship took shape in recent months, following the cutting of the ribbon by the float-out ceremony's godmother, an employee of Monfalcone shipyard.

"As our first ship built specifically for the Chinese market, Costa Venezia marks a new era not just for Costa Cruises and Fincantieri but for the Chinese cruise industry as a whole," said Mario Zanetti, president of Costa Group Asia. "From its initial conception all the way through to today's float-out ceremony and beyond, everything about Costa Venezia has been designed with the Chinese consumer in mind. Costa Venezia will continue to deliver on Costa Cruise's authentic Italian experience while also providing a unique vacation experience that will resonate with Chinese guests by being fully tailored to their travel preferences."

"Today we celebrate a milestone in the construction of Costa Venezia which, together with its sister ship, will strengthen Costa's commitment in an emerging market," said Luigi Matarazzo, Fincantieri executive vice president new building - merchant ships business unit. "Thanks to the effort of the Monfalcone shipyard, in a moment of exceptional growth of the cruise industry, we confirm our global leadership in this sector and our long-term relationship with Costa Cruises."

When it arrives in China in 2019, Costa Venezia will mark the latest step in a long list of innovations from Costa Cruises, the first international cruise brand to begin serving the local Chinese market in 2006. At a length of 323 meters and measuring 135,500 gross tons with a capacity of 5,260 guests, Costa Venezia will be Costa's largest ship operating homeport cruises from China. It will also be followed by the launch of its sister ship in 2020, which began steel cutting by Fincantieri in Italy earlier this year.

Carnival Corporation Reports Record Second Quarter Results
Carnival Corporation announced U.S. GAAP net income of $561 million, or $0.78 diluted EPS, for the second quarter of 2018, higher than U.S. GAAP net income for the second quarter of 2017 of $379 million, or $0.52 diluted EPS. Second quarter 2018 adjusted net income of $489 million, or $0.68 adjusted EPS, was higher than adjusted net income of $378 million, or $0.52 adjusted EPS, for the second quarter of 2017. Adjusted net income excludes unrealized gains and losses on fuel derivatives and other net charges, totaling $72 million in net gains for the second quarter of 2018 and $1 million in net gains for the second quarter of 2017. Revenues for the second quarter of 2018 were $4.4 billion, higher than the $3.9 billion in the prior year.

Carnival Corporation & plc President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald stated, "We delivered another strong quarter, again achieving record adjusted earnings on record revenues and exceeding the high end of our guidance range. Strong operational execution drove a 30 percent increase in adjusted earnings affirming the strength of our core strategy to create demand that outpaces measured capacity growth through outstanding guest experience efforts coupled with innovative actions to increase consideration for cruising across all global markets."

Key information for the second quarter of 2018 compared to the second quarter of 2017:

• Gross revenue yields (revenue per available lower berth day or "ALBD") increased 8.8 percent. In constant currency, net revenue yields increased 4.8 percent exceeding March guidance of up 2.5 to 3.5 percent.

• Gross cruise costs including fuel per ALBD increased 8.2 percent. In constant currency, net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD increased 3.6 percent, better than March guidance of up 4.0 to 5.0 percent, principally due to the timing of expenses between quarters.

• Changes in fuel prices (including realized fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates increased earnings by $0.01 per share.

Highlights from the second quarter include the delivery of Carnival Cruise Line's 26th ship in its fleet, Carnival Horizon in March 2018. Additionally, in April 2018 Seabourn took delivery of the 5th all-suite ship in its ultra luxury fleet, Seabourn Ovation. As a result of the strong guest response to sailings to Cuba, Carnival Cruise Line received approval for more than 20 additional calls, bringing the total to 40 calls to Cuba in 2019, departing from home-ports in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, and Charleston. Also during the quarter, Carnival Cruise Line unveiled the largest, most technologically advanced operations center in the cruise industry. Carnival Corporation & plc increased its quarterly dividend from $0.45 to $0.50 and replenished the share repurchase program to $1 billion.

2018 Outlook

At this time, cumulative advanced bookings for the next three quarters are in line with the prior year at higher prices. Since March, booking volumes for the next three quarters have been running slightly ahead of prior year at prices that are in line with the prior year.

Donald added, "Strong operational results coupled with sustained strength in booking trends have mitigated the unfavorable $0.19 per share impact of fuel and currency moving against us since our last update. We remain on track to deliver double digit return on invested capital in 2018. In addition, we have accelerated returns to shareholders through our recent dividend increase, with annual dividend distributions now over $1.4 billion and the reauthorization of up to $1 billion in share repurchases." Carnival said that it invested over $375 million in share repurchases since the beginning of the quarter, bringing the cumulative total of repurchases to date to over $3.7 billion since late 2015.

Based on current booking trends, Carnival said that it now expects full year 2018 net revenue yields in constant currency to be up approximately 3.0 percent compared to the prior year, better than March guidance of up approximately 2.5 percent. Carnival said that it still expects full year net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency compared to the prior year to be up approximately 1.0 percent, in line with March guidance. Changes in fuel prices (including realized fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates are expected to decrease earnings by $0.19 per share compared to March guidance and $0.13 per share compared to the prior year.

Taking the above factors into consideration, Carnival said that it expects full year 2018 adjusted earnings per share to be in the range of $4.15 to $4.25 compared to 2017 adjusted earnings per share of $3.82.

Third Quarter 2018 Outlook

Third quarter constant currency net revenue yields are expected to be up approximately 1.5 to 2.5 percent compared to third quarter 2017. Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency for the third quarter are expected to increase by approximately 3.0 to 4.0 percent compared to third quarter 2017. Changes in fuel prices (including realized derivatives) and currency exchange rates are expected to decrease earnings by $0.06 per share compared to the prior year. Based on the above factors, Carnival said that it expects adjusted earnings per share for the third quarter 2018 to be in the range of $2.25 to $2.29 versus 2017 adjusted earnings per share of $2.29.

Royal Caribbean's Reimagined Mariner of the Seas Arrives Home to Miami
Coinciding with the first day of summer, Royal Caribbean International's much-hyped Mariner of the Seas sailed into its new home at PortMiami today amped up with $120 million of new thrills, restaurants, staterooms and entertainment. Short getaways are forever changed with Mariner's highly anticipated 4-night weekday and 3-night weekend cruises from Miami to The Bahamas. Giving millennial travelers more ways to play, the ship's short itineraries pack more adventure than ever with Sky Pad, a virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience; the cruise line's first Polynesian-inspired, tiki-chic bar, The Bamboo Room; glow-in-the-dark laser tag, racer waterslides and more.

The young and young at heart are invited to ditch the expected road trip for a short and action-packed cruise vacation on board Mariner of the Seas, where the thrills come alive from day to night.

New Ways to Play

• Sky Pad – The gravity-defying bungee trampoline experience amped up with virtual reality

• The Perfect Storm – A thrilling pair of three-story-high racer waterslides called Cyclone and Typhoon

• Laser Tag: Battle for Planet Z – An epic glow-in-the-dark battle for the last planet in the galaxy

• Escape Room: The Observatorium – Royal Caribbean's newest escape room challenge

• FlowRider – The cruise line's signature 40-foot-long surf simulator, perfect for hanging ten

New Ways to Dine and Drink

• The Bamboo Room – A laidback Polynesian watering hole with a throwback vibe and kitschy-cool craft cocktails like the Island Old Fashioned and Tiki Tea – the first in Royal Caribbean's fleet

• Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade – For fans watching their home team on one of more than 25 TV screens, making their own legendary plays at the arcade, or refueling on game-day favorites

• Jamie's Italian – Serving fresh, handmade and rustic Italian fare by Chef Jamie Oliver, one of Britain's most famous food exports

• Izumi Hibachi and Sushi – Asian-inspired dining featuring hibachi, sushi and sashimi and more – made to order with authentic flavors, the freshest ingredients and impeccable presentation

"Millennials want more frequent and shorter vacations that offer as much of that exhilarating adventure they seek. We've answered that call by investing $120 million in Mariner of the Seas and bringing her to Miami to sail 3- and 4-night cruises," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "With the combination of more thrills than you can count and visits to tropical destinations, Mariner is changing the game and taking the short getaway experience to a whole new level."

Mariner of the Seas will welcome guests for the first time on Monday, June 25, as it sets sail on a 4-night cruise to The Bahamas. The newly reimagined ship will continue to offer 4-night weekday and 3-night weekend itineraries from Miami, with visits to Nassau and CocoCay. Beginning May 2019, Mariner will sail to the new Perfect Day at CocoCay, the first destination in Royal Caribbean's recently announced collection of private island experiences around the world.

Along with the recently amplified Independence of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas is part of Royal Caribbean's $900 million commitment to reimagine its fleet through a new effort called Royal Amplified. The program spans 10 ships in four years and will touch every facet of the guest experience. Introducing a wide range of bold, new features and experiences – from experiential dining and nightlife concepts, and first-of-its-kind attractions – Royal Amplified reflects the company's passion for innovation, relentless attention to detail and commitment to delivering the best vacation.

A Revolutionary New Terminal For A Revolutionary New Ship
Designed to leave guests in awe, Celebrity Cruises celebrates another milestone with the unveiling of the line's first ever brand-designed cruise terminal, Terminal 25 (T25), located at Port Everglades in Hollywood, Fla. Designed to complement the sophistication of the terminal's future resident – the industry's most anticipated new ship, Celebrity Edge – T25 features cutting-edge technology and a sleek design, all crafted to create the ultimate guest experience.

Brought to life in collaboration with Broward County's Port Everglades and seasoned architectural firm Bermello Ajamil & Partners, Inc., T25 melds a gorgeous, warm design with unique technology, such as Frictionless Arrival, which will make the check-in process absolutely seamless, and an interactive light wall art installation. T25 will also offer Suite Class guests a singular experience along the path to The Retreat, with an exclusive lounge, elevator lobbies, screening areas and even a private rooftop terrace.

"When designing the revolutionary Celebrity Edge, we knew we wanted to design a terminal that perfectly complemented the ship and matched its one-of-a-kind experience," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "With cutting-edge technology, in service of a gorgeous design, T25 is that perfect new home. T25 also happens to be Celebrity's first ever brand-designed cruise terminal, which not only represents a milestone for Celebrity, but also presented us with the opportunity to set yet another standard in design and create the perfect guest experience."

"This is the largest financial investment that Port Everglades has made in a cruise terminal, and we fully anticipate that Terminal 25's iconic design will be a showcase for Broward County and Celebrity Cruises as we strive to create an inviting and fun environment for the millions of cruise passengers who visit here," said Broward County Mayor Beam Furr.

"We are replacing two smaller and outdated cruise terminals with an innovative facility that is inspired by the sleek, futuristic design of Celebrity Edge and can accommodate some of the world's largest cruise ships," said Port Everglades Chief Executive and Port Director Steven Cernak. "The time was right to build a new Terminal 25 that uses cutting-edge technology, such as electronic media-mesh for innovative messaging, to attract contemporary travelers who want to explore the world."

T25 also features a 1,463 sq. ft. GKD Mediamesh that will wrap the terminal's exterior, juxtaposing the more than 18,000 sq. ft. of outward facing glass, and the first purpose-built crew lounge of any Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. terminal. This crew lounge will have complimentary Wi-Fi connectivity, TV access, optimized storage, quiet places for employees and more.

Scheduled for completion in late October 2018, T25 will be the new home to many Celebrity ships during their winter deployment, including Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Reflection and Celebrity Silhouette. Along with these ships, the terminal will be LEED certified and able to accommodate up to a 1,150-foot-long ship. When Celebrity is not using T25 the facility will be open to other cruise lines.

Currently, Port Everglades welcomes on average approximately 335,000 Celebrity guests annually, representing about nine percent of its overall passenger traffic. Once the new cruise terminal is completed, it is anticipated that Celebrity will generate nearly 500,000 travelers at Port Everglades – representing no less than 14 percent of the port's projected passenger traffic.

Why Is Cuba Tripling The Size Of Its Main Cruise Terminal?
Cuba's recent announcement to triple its cruise ship berths at the port on the edge of Old Havana by 2024 may seem surprising coming just months after President Donald Trump moved to clamp down on Americans' travel to Cuba. But it shouldn't, says Kislaya Prasad, research professor and academic director of the Center for Global Business at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business.

The port expansion actually reflects the flavor of the restrictions U.S. travelers face since the crackdown. U.S. travelers are banned from visiting Cuba's government-backed hotels and restaurants – and that makes cruise liners, with their built-in lodging, restaurants and educated tour guides, the perfect way to explore the long-off-limits island nation.

"The cruise ships have customized excursions that meet the criteria for 'educational' U.S. travel to Cuba," Prasad says.

The cruise companies, by nature, are taking travelers in groups, but now also are organizing educational agendas for those visits and are assisting customers with the government's required paperwork.

"Somebody who is going on a cruise can just have the company organize the paperwork, and they can just go to Havana and feel secure about not flouting any laws about which hotels they are allowed to stay in or what restaurants they are allowed to eat in," Prasad says. "Those kinds of risks are mitigated."

He and Rebecca L. Bellinger, executive director of the Smith School's Center for Global Business, recently co-edited and helped to co-write a forthcoming book, "Cuba In Transition: Lessons from a Faculty Development in International Business Program." The book includes their own reflections from years of traveling to the country as well as contributions from a dozen other scholars, including the Smith School's Anandasivam Gopal.

The number of cruise ships making port calls in Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba has surged in the past two years, now topping more than 650 sailings, much of them boarded by Americans. That's poised to increase yet again, with Cuba recently signing a deal with the world's largest independent cruise port operator to increase capacity at the terminal in Havana.

Cuba has become a popular destination for cruise travelers. More than 700,000 passengers are expected this year, up from 397,500 last year, and just 37,500 in 2015. And under the deal with Turkey-based Global Ports Holding, the port will triple its cruise ship berths to six by 2024.

"They were starting at such a low base," Prasad says of Cuba's port capacity. "Cuba has a long, long way to go to get anywhere close to the U.S. Virgin Islands or the Bahamas."

Even without U.S. travelers in Cuba, there would still be potential for expansion, given the number of visitors each year who travel from Canada and Western Europe.

Nonetheless, small entrepreneurs in Cuba – owners and employees of the paladares and casa particulares – across the budding Cuban hospitality sector are feeling pinched by the revised U.S. policies. And the loss of high-spending U.S. customers may be a result of many of the U.S. visitors coming off cruise ships and making a short visit restricted to Old Havana, Prasad says.

"Sadly, this trend is the opposite of what was hoped for when travel restrictions to Cuba were first lifted during the Obama administration," he says. "The hope was that a rising middle class would be emboldened to demand greater freedoms, and this eventually lead to a more open society."

Even when Trump rolled back some of the policies of the previous administration, Prasad says, the intention was to target establishments owned by the Cuban Army – not the private sector. The new policies, Prasad says, by many accounts are hitting the private sector hardest, while leaving the state sector largely insulated.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 58.54 - 9.17%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 105.39 - 8.05%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.56 - 0.64%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 48.77 - 10.60%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What do the "Single turn", "Williamson turn" and "Scharnow turn" all have in common (...besides being types of turns, of course)?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which liner was the favorite of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor for Atlantic crossings during the 1950's? On crossings they would always book the same suites and travel with nearly 100 pieces of luggage and their pug dogs

Answer - The favorite liner of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in the 1950's was the United States. They switched to the then new USL liner because of the panache of her speed record, and also because Cunard Line had informed them that they would have to charge the couple a baggage handling fee for the extensive number of bags and trunks they carried, and would no longer honor the "free passage" Cunard had provided for members of the Royal Family.
courtesy of helaw@msn.com


Cruise News - June 18, 2018

Royal Caribbean To Invest In Silversea Cruises
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Manfredi Lefebvre D'Ovidio today announced an agreement for RCL to acquire a stake in privately-owned Silversea Cruises, bringing together two companies with bold, long-term visions for the cruise industry.

Under the agreement, Royal Caribbean will acquire a 66.7% equity stake in Silversea Cruises based on an enterprise value of approximately $2 billion. The purchase price of the equity being acquired is approximately $1 billion. RCL plans to finance the purchase through debt. In addition, Lefebvre will qualify for an estimated contingent consideration of approximately 472,000 RCL shares, payable upon achievement of certain 2019-2020 performance metrics.

"Silversea is a crown jewel, and the acknowledged leader in luxury and expedition cruising, two key markets that are poised for growth," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "Uniting our two companies presents an extraordinary opportunity to expand vacation options for guests and create revenue in strategic growth areas."

Fain added: "We are proud to welcome aboard Manfredi Lefebvre, a visionary leader whose high standards and history of innovation we deeply respect. Manfredi will remain Executive Chairman of Silversea, continuing to lead its strategy long term."

"This partnership will bolster the growth of this exceptional brand founded by my father," said Lefebvre. "I have always been kindred spirits with Richard and we share a vision of offering excellence and leadership to our guests. This new partnership gives Silversea the opportunity to accelerate the growth of the most successful luxury and expedition cruising brand in the world."

The strategic rationale for the partnership includes: Driving long-term capacity growth in the burgeoning luxury and expedition markets at a much larger scale than what Silversea would achieve independently;

• Diversifying Royal Caribbean's portfolio and increasing its expedition offerings by adding a premiere ultra-luxury brand;

• Leveraging the global footprint of the combined companies to generate demand and increase vacation and destination options for the guests of both companies;

Realizing significant synergies related to global market access, supply chain, purchasing power and other economies of scale. Lefebvre said he is confident that the significant investment stake he is retaining will sizably increase its value through the growth this long-term partnership will enable.

Lefebvre and Fain also confirmed that Silversea's CEO Roberto Martinoli will continue in his role, working with the existing Silversea management team.

Silversea, with its intimate, all-suite ships, full spectrum of global cruise offerings sailing to more than 1000 global destinations, and unique luxury expedition vessels, adds a pioneering ultra-luxury brand to RCL's industry-leading brand lineup. RCL's largest brand, Royal Caribbean International, is a contemporary brand focused on adventure-seeking families, Celebrity Cruises is a premium brand providing a modern luxury experience to discerning global travelers, and Azamara Club Cruises is a destination immersive brand offering luxury voyages to unique ports. The company also operates the regional TUI Cruises and Pullmantur brands as part of long-term joint ventures.

The closing is expected to be completed later in the year, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

Viking's Fifth Ocean Ship Named In Italy
Viking today named its fifth ocean ship, Viking Orion during a spectacular celebration in Livorno, Italy. The ship was delivered to Viking last week and is currently sailing a maiden voyage with her ceremonial godmother, American chemist, emergency room physician and retired NASA astronaut Dr. Anna Fisher, along with dozens of Dr. Fisher's friends, family, academics, explorers and fellow astronauts. Named after the prominent constellation and in honor of Dr. Fisher's work on NASA's Orion exploration vehicle project, the 930-guest 47,800-ton Viking Orion arrived in Livorno early this morning. The ship will continue her maiden season sailing itineraries in the Western and Eastern Mediterranean this summer before heading east to sail Viking's newest itineraries in Asia, Australia and Alaska.

"Today is a proud day for the entire Viking family. Just three years ago we launched our first ocean ship, and now we are welcoming our fifth ship, whose name was selected to honor both the original Viking explorers who used the constellations for long-distance navigation, as well as the great space explorers of our time," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "We are grateful for Dr. Fisher's many contributions to the scientific community, and we are humbled that she is godmother to Viking Orion. The spirit of exploration is at the heart of the Viking way of travel, and we look forward to welcoming guests onboard our newest ship, which has been designed to offer opportunities for learning about the great history of space exploration."

Following her arrival this morning, Viking Orion was positioned alongside the city's historic Medici-built Fortezza Vecchia (Old Fortress). Livorno is known as a gateway to Tuscany, a region reached by the original Viking explorers. Nearby, Pisa is also known for its native Galileo Galilei – "The Father of Science" – whose gravitational theories and invention of the Galilean telescope have been central to advancements in oceanic navigation. It was at the Fortezza Vecchia that in 1662 students of Galileo held an experiment to test his projectile motion theory. Livorno – with its Fortezza Vecchia – was chosen specifically for Viking Orion's naming ceremony because of those connections to scientific studies and exploration. During the day today, Viking Orion guests and international dignitaries were treated to an interactive exhibit inside the Fortezza Vecchia that tells the stories of exploration technology throughout history – from the Vikings' solar compass to Galileo's gravitational and projectile motion experiments. The exhibit was designed and built specifically for Viking Orion's naming ceremony.

During the naming ceremony this evening, guests enjoyed a high-tech show and musical concert that paid tribute to Nordic mythology and the spirit of exploration. Legendary British explorer Sir Ranulph "Ran" Fiennes served as the narrator for the event, which also included musical performances from Italian tenor Antonio Corianò, Norwegian bukkehorn musician Sissel Morken Gullord and Norwegian singer Sissel Kyrkjebø, who is widely considered one of the world's top crossover sopranos and who will also be godmother to Viking Jupiter, which debuts in early 2019.

Dr. Anna Fisher served as ceremonial godmother and offered a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for Viking Orion – a naval tradition that dates back thousands of years. In keeping with the naming custom, Dr. Fisher also used an historic Viking broad axe to cut a ribbon that allowed a bottle of Norwegian aquavit to break on the ship's hull. The ship was officially blessed by Monsignor Liberio Andreatta. Mons. Liberio Andreatta has led Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, an office of the Vicariate of Rome, an organ of the Holy See, reporting directly to the Cardinal Vicar of the Pope – and is the largest operator of pilgrim travel in the world. Staying true to shipbuilding tradition, Viking Orion has also been blessed by Father Dino Cecconi, the Chaplain of the Port of Ancona, at her float out ceremony in September 2017.

MSC Cruises Ups Fleet Expansion Plan Through 2026
MSC Cruises and STX France signed today an order for the construction of a fifth Meraviglia class cruise ship. Due to be delivered in 2023, this vessel will be equipped with a new generation of dual-fuel engines designed to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG). She will also feature other innovative environmental technologies, notably including an advanced wastewater treatment system compliant with the world's most stringent regulatory standards, including the provisions enshrined in Resolution MEPC.227 for the Baltic Sea.

This announcement was made at a unique ceremony held at the Saint-Nazaire shipyard in the presence of Bruno Le Maire, the French Minister of the Economy and Finance. STX France and MSC Cruises celebrated three major ship building milestones: the Steel Cutting Ceremony of the 4th Meraviglia class vessel where MSC Cruises announced that the ship will be named MSC Virtuosa; the Coin Ceremony of MSC Grandiosa; and the Float-out of MSC Bellissima. For the first time in Saint-Nazaire's history, three cruise ships belonging to a single cruise brand are under simultaneous construction at the shipyard.

Speaking before opening the valves to flood the dry dock where MSC Bellissima has been assembled, Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises' Executive Chairman, said: "With the announcement of yet another new vessel, the 13th under our 10-year investment plan, we are affirming our commitment to sustainable growth for our Company. I say this while three more next-generation MSC Cruises are now simultaneously under construction.

Mr Vago added, "Our fifth Meraviglia class cruise ship will bring a new generation of cutting-edge environmental technology to the market, benefiting from a new generation of LNG-powered engines. This will help us further reduce our environmental footprint and advance in our journey of constant improvement. She will be joined at sea by up to four World Class LNG-powered ships, as part of our overall commitment to environmental stewardship through this and other next-generation technologies and solutions deployed fleet-wide."

The agreement for the additional Meraviglia-Plus ship represents an additional investment of €900 million (˜$1.06 billion USD).

Carnival Announces Carnival Spirit Will Sail Year-Round From Brisbane
Carnival Cruise Line, the world’s largest cruise line, announced Carnival Spirit will become the brand’s first ever ship to home port in Brisbane.

The announcement follows the ACCC’s approval of a new cruise ship terminal in Brisbane.

Rated as Australia’s favourite year-round cruise ship by members of Cruise Critic, Carnival Spirit will arrive into her new home in 2020. She will sail year-round from Brisbane to the stunning tropical archipelagos of Vanuatu and New Caledonia, as well as offer shorter cruises to well-loved destinations in North Queensland.

Jennifer Vandekreeke, Carnival Cruise Line Vice-President, Australia, says, “Queenslanders have embraced Carnival’s free-spirited, family-friendly fun since our arrival in 2012. Since then, we have welcomed nearly 75,000 Queenslanders on Carnival cruises from Sydney and Melbourne. We’re delighted to announce that with the new cruise terminal we’ll be able to offer Queenslanders the opportunity to sail on Carnival right from their doorstep.”

With more than 45 activities over 12 decks of fun, Carnival Spirit provides the ultimate fun at sea, offering Green Thunder, the fastest and steepest waterslide at sea, as well as three swimming pools, the childfree Serenity Retreat and more than 20 bars, lounges and dining options.

Itineraries for Carnival Spirit’s 2020 Brisbane sailings will be announced mid-June 2018 with bookings opening in early July 2018.

Carnival Australia’s arrangements with the Port of Brisbane remain subject to approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board.

Largest Sushi Roll at Sea Created by Holland America Line
Today is International Sushi Day, and Holland America Line is celebrating the beloved delicacy by revealing the Largest Sushi Roll at Sea made on June 9 by Culinary Council Member Andy Matsuda while he sailed aboard Koningsdam on a special Food & Beverage Aficionado Cruise in Norway. Dubbed the "World Mega Roll," the creation measured 49 feet long (15 meters) before getting rolled, 3.3 feet (100 centimeters) wide and used 70 pounds of sushi rice.

The Largest Sushi Roll at Sea was prepared around the Lido Pool so guests could join in the festivities and watch as Matsuda assembled the culinary feat. Once delicately rolled, Matsuda cut the large roll in half so guests could view the swirled ingredients that included rice, salmon, tuna, shrimp, crab, tamago (Japanese omelet), tobiko (flying fish roe), cucumber, red onion and radish.

Largest Sushi Roll at Sea Fun Facts at a Glance:

• 49 feet long (15 meters) pre-rolled.

• 3.3 feet wide (100 centimeters) rolled.

• 150 sheets of Nori seaweed.

• 70 pounds of sushi rice.

• 3 pounds each of tuna, salmon and shrimp.

• 1 pound of tobiko (flying fish roe).

"Having Andy on board Koningsdam in June made it the perfect time to show off his sushi skills and create the Largest Sushi Roll at Sea in honor of International Sushi Day," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "As the only cruise line with seven Culinary Council members advising our culinary offering, it's exciting to be able to tap specific expertise like the exceptional skills of Andy to wow our guests with such a fun, unique and memorable experience."

Since 2016 Matsuda has been sharing his knowledge with and training Holland America Line's shipboard chefs to ensure that the cruise line's staff is at the forefront of sushi trends and techniques. Guests can indulge in Matsuda's signature rolls at Tamarind — the award-winning Asian-fusion restaurant on board several Holland America Line ships — and at Tamarind's sushi counter on Koningsdam. To further enhance the sushi experience, Nieuw Statendam — Holland America Line's newbuild due for delivery in December 2018 — will boast a separate sushi bar called Nami Sushi that will feature more rolls created exclusively by Matsuda.

BEYOND THE CRUISE SHIP: To Make Most of Exploring Ports of Call
Your cruise vacation takes you on a beautiful ship, with comfortable accommodations, fine cuisine and more tantalizing activities than you can possibly do in a week. But you'll also be visiting fascinating ports of call almost every day. So the question is, what's the best way to take advantage of exploring the destinations you visit? For veteran cruise passengers, the go-to options are shore excursions offered by cruise lines. With years of experience in organizing the most popular shore excursions and long-standing relationships with local tour guides, the cruise lines offer a practical and hassle-free way to see the sights, experience local culture, safely pursue adventure activities such as snorkeling and ziplining, and arrive at the best lounge chairs on the best beaches – icy cold rum drinks optional.

"Tours are the best way to get to know the country and its people in one day," says Frank Boensch, director of shore excursions for Germany-based AIDA Cruises. "The choice is huge. For instance, I often recommend bike tours for our active guests because you see the sights while pedaling, providing a whole different perspective. It's amazing how diverse our world is and it's unbelievable what you can experience."

Whether you are looking to enjoy year-round summertime weather in the Caribbean on Carnival Cruise Line, explore the Mediterranean including small heritage towns (so called "borghi") on Italy-based Costa Cruises, explore the beautiful beaches, fascinating culture and World War II sites of the South Pacific islands with P&O Cruises Australia or see the world with Cunard, shore excursions are the key to once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Local guides add insight, and special activities add a wow factor.

The tours represent significant value, as cruise lines partner with qualified tour companies and feature transportation, expert guides, admission or activities fees and, in some cases, lunch and drinks. To prove the value proposition of their shore excursions, Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises all offer a best-price guarantee.

Peace of mind is another benefit, as cruise companies are in contact with their partner tour operators and able to track where a particular tour is, and when passengers will be returning to the ship. In the rare case of a port of call being canceled, passengers booking through the cruise line will have their shore excursions costs refunded.

To help you find the tour that's right for you, here are some tips from shore excursion pros.

Think about what you want to do. "My first question is always, 'What do you want to see?'" says Claudio Schulze, destinations manager on the new, ultra-luxury, 600-passenger ship Seabourn Ovation.

Bus tours work well for some passengers, particularly those who want to see the top sights without extensive walking. Active tours provide even more Instagram-worthy experiences and include such options as flightseeing, deep-sea fishing, kayaking, mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking and ATV adventure, to name a few.

Culture vultures will find tours focusing on cooking classes, dance performances and local artist studios. On lines such as Holland America Line and Seabourn, there is also the option of private tours.

Weigh excursions vs. DIY. On paper, you may think you can get around on your own. But in some ports, key sights are a significant distance from the pier. You can try your luck with a local taxi, but after dealing with issues such as language and currency exchange, you may find you don't get to all the places you've come to see.

Shore excursions, on the other hand, are choreographed to get you to the key sights in the time that you have in port and are conducted by local guides who share their own stories.

"It's far more immersive than trying to follow a map or flick through the pages of a huge guide book on your own," says Alison Webster, a port presenter for British line P&O Cruises. "You leave the planning to someone else and spend your precious port time enjoying your chosen destination or attraction."

Do a little research. Shore excursion experts say guests benefit from knowing at least something in advance about the destinations they will visit.

Cruise lines make it easy with websites packed with information – Holland America Line even has advice from the experts at Afar magazine.

Hamish Gordon, the line's senior manager of group shore excursions, says before they get to the ship, guests should download the shore excursion brochure and call the cruise line's shore excursion desk with any questions.

He also recommends a quick Google search of each port to check out the top attractions you might want to see.

Check peer reviews. When deciding on excursions, it's advisable to read peer reviews online, either on independent websites such as CruiseCritic.com and TripAdvisor or on the cruise line websites.

Carnival Cruise Line, for instance, encourages passenger reviews and ratings (the ratings system is managed by an outside company) and lists the top five excursions in each port of call.

"All are actual passenger reviews. It tells you what your fellow passengers have done and which they have particularly enjoyed," says Gavin Burgess, senior shore excursion manager onboard the new, 3,960-passenger Carnival Horizon. "You'll learn, for instance, that if you go to Alaska and don't do shore excursions into the wilderness, it's like going to Egypt and not seeing the pyramids."

Use onboard resources. Shipboard port presentations by destination experts provide information about each port of call, including outlining mistakes people make and how to avoid them.

It's a good idea to attend these sessions, whether you're doing a shore excursion or plan to explore independently. You may also want to speak personally to the experts, who can share their first-hand experiences.

"It's their job to know the places that you visit well and ensure that you get the most enjoyment from your time ashore," says Webster of P&O Cruises.

At the new state-of-the-art Explorations Center in the Crow's Nest lounge on select Holland America Line ships, guests can also sit down and view digital displays highlighting shore experiences.

Know your limits. It's important to read descriptions and choose tours that are right for you.

"Mobility and activity level are certainly things to be considered," advises Rex Donasco, shore excursion manager with Princess Cruises, and currently on the Ruby Princess in Alaska.

Shore excursion brochures rank activity levels from low to high. Carnival Cruise Line, for instance, with its newly rebranded Carnival Adventures program, uses a symbol of a person, ranging from one person being minimum activity to four meaning full-on athleticism. If you are unsure about where you fit into the spectrum, call ahead or simply consult with the shore excursion team onboard your ship.

"Be assured there is something for everyone," said Michael Mihajlov, destinations director for P&O Cruises Australia.

Include excursions in your budget. You don't want to miss a key experience because you get hung up on price while cruising.

Budget ahead for excursions that make you say "wow," suggest the experts.

Princess Cruises' Donasco counts on his must-do list a seaplane flight from Juneau to the Taku Lodge, which he says focuses on the best of Alaska in one excursion.

"You see miles of glacial ice from the sky before landing at a remote log cabin where you explore wilderness trails and watch for wildlife, before enjoying a delicious salmon feast," he says. "It's an unbelievable experience."

Book in advance. You'll want to reserve your must-do shore excursions prior to your cruise because some popular tours, including active excursions and other small-group experiences, tend to sell out. If you change your mind, you can make changes when you get to the ship.

If you have a specific request, such as a need for transportation with a wheelchair lift or a food allergy, it's advisable to alert the shore excursion team well in advance.

Read what's on your ticket. When you receive your shore excursion tickets on the ship, included will be specific information about each tour. It's important to read that information.

"You would think everyone would know to bring a swimsuit on a snorkeling tour, but they forget," Carnival Cruise Line's Burgess says. "When they are on vacation, some people don't want to think. That's fine. We've got you covered. We want you to have fun and not worry about anything. We spell it out for you so you have the most enjoyable time."

Whichever shore excursions you choose, plan to take lots of photos and share the experience – not only with those at home via social media posts, but also with new friends on the ship.

"Often guests on a shore excursion have such an amazing bonding experience," says Holland America Line's Gordon. "It's not unusual to see them dining or having drinks together, swapping photos on their cellphones."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 64.45 + 5.41%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 114.62 + 10.55%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.567 + 0.64%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.55 + 4.36%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which liner was the favorite of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor for Atlantic crossings during the 1950's? On crossings they would always book the same suites and travel with nearly 100 pieces of luggage and their pug dogs

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which famous liner came to the assistance of the Andrea Doria after she was struck by the Swedish liner Stockholm in 1956?

Answer - The French Line transatlantic liner "Ile de France" came to the rescue after the collision between the Italian liner "Andrea Doria" and the Swedish Liner "Stockholm" on July 25, 1956. The collision occured in fog off the Nantucket Shoals.
courtesy of Larry MacDonald


Cruise News - June 11, 2018

MSC Seaview Named In A Glittering Ceremony In The Historic Port Of Genoa
The newest addition to the MSC Cruises fleet and new flagship, MSC Seaview, was christened on Saturday, June 9, in true MSC Cruises style with a star-studded line-up, VIPs, key travel partners and international media as well as top management from MSC Cruises and its parent company MSC Group. Gianluigi Aponte, MSC Group's founder and executive chairman as well as the ship owner, attended together with the Aponte and Aponte-Vago families.

MSC Cruises, Swiss-based world's largest privately-owned cruise line and brand market leader in Europe and South America, is renowned for hosting spectacular christening events that celebrate the coming into service of the new ships and this event was no exception with a star-studded ceremony with live entertainment and speeches, fireworks and gala dinner combined with the significant maritime traditions that are so important to MSC Cruises as a family company with a long-standing seafaring heritage.

The christening ceremony was hosted by star of Italian TV, Swiss-born Michelle Hunziker who welcomed to the stage 'father of Italian blues' Zucchero Fornaciari. TV star Lorella Cuccarini hosted a special moment on stage, and Italian children's choir, Piccolo Coro Dell'Antoniano, performed as the UNICEF ambassadors, to acknowledge MSC Cruises' important partnership that helps improve the lives of children and their families in developing countries and those affected by crises. Also heard was the young talent of belcanto, Matteo Bocelli, son of the world-famous Andrea Bocelli who sang at the christening of MSC Seaside, MSC Seaview's sister ship in Miami last December. Matteo Bocelli sang during the Officers' Parade, an important tradition to honor and thank the ship's crew for their service.

Godmother Sophia Loren finished off the traditional proceedings as she cut the ribbon to launch the bottle of champagne to name MSC Seaview, her 13th MSC Cruises ship. As the godmother of all MSC Cruises' ships, Madame Loren is practically part of the MSC Cruises family and brings a touch of Hollywood glamour and style to each Christening.

Also present at the ceremony was Ramon Freixa, the Spanish two Michelin-starred chef who has now extended his partnership with MSC Cruises to launch his first restaurant at sea on board MSC Seaview. Pan-Asian chef Roy Yamaguchi, attended his second MSC Cruises' ship christening to celebrate his second restaurant at sea, with his first launching on MSC Seaside. Other stars in attendance included Spanish model and actor Jon Kortajarena, Brazilian presenter and actor Giovanna Ewbank and French television personality Ariane Brodier.

Described as a game-changing cruise ship, the vision was to create something truly unique that would enable guests to enjoy the beauty of the Mediterranean sea. The ship is designed to enhance the enjoyment of the open water and sunshine, specifically intended to cruise in warmer climates and to create a very special connection between guests and the sea.

Most cruise ships are planned and engineered to offer entertainment, dining and other experiences inside the ship while MSC Seaview is designed to bring guests outside to the open decks and walkways. Featuring the highest ratio of outdoor space of any MSC Cruises ship, MSC Seaview brings guests closer to the sea and helps them enjoy the outdoors in every aspect of the experience, including staterooms and suites with elongated balconies offering both sun and covered areas, dining and drinking in true Mediterranean "al fresco" style, and outdoor fitness and luxury spa cabanas in the open air.

MSC Seaview is the 15th addition to the MSC Cruises fleet and the third ship to come into service in just 12 months under the Company's industry-unprecedented €10.5 billion ($12.4 billion USD) investment plan.

MSC Seaview commenced her maiden voyage from Genoa on June 10, offering six embarkation ports in the Western Mediterranean including the popular ports of Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona as well as other much sought after Mediterranean destinations including Naples, Messina in Sicily and Valetta in Malta. After her inaugural season, she will journey to South America to call on a variety of picturesque destinations including in Brazil.

Royal Caribbean Unveils New Features on New Spectrum of the Seas
After a decade of rapid growth and development in China and introducing the world's most technologically advanced cruise ships to the market, Royal Caribbean International is once again set to redefine vacations in the region with the debut of its newest ship, Spectrum of the Seas. Designed and built to deliver an unforgettable vacation experience for all guests, the first in the Quantum Ultra class of ships will boast the cruise line's first private enclave for suite guests, new stateroom categories, innovative dining concepts, and stunning features and experiences – many of which have never before been seen at sea. Accommodating 4,246 guests at double occupancy and 1,551 international crew members, Spectrum will be the largest and most expensive ship in Asia when she sails from Shanghai starting in June 2019.

"When Quantum of the Seas made her debut in Shanghai three years ago, it changed the face of cruising in China. Fast forward to today, and we are revealing just how we'll transform the cruise vacation market, yet again, with the debut of Spectrum of the Seas," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "The introduction of our highly anticipated Quantum Ultra Class will represent a quantum leap forward in ship design and experiences specifically tailored to Chinese guests."

Custom built for the Chinese market, Spectrum of the Seas will feature bold and unexpected experiences, including the iconic Sky Pad, a virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience located on the aft of the ship. Guests will strap in and don their VR headset to transport themselves to another time and planet. The out-of-this-world experience is for guests of all ages, and also can be enjoyed without headsets, for those who prefer to look out over the ocean as they leap toward the sky.

The first Quantum Ultra ship will debut Royal Caribbean's first exclusive suites-only area, which will feature the exquisite Golden and Silver suite accommodations in a private enclave at the forward end of the ship on decks 13 through 16. Vacationers booked in these luxury suites will have special keycard access, a private elevator and a dedicated restaurant and lounge. In addition to a range of exclusive amenities, guests will have access to The Balcony – a private outdoor space for sunbathing and relaxing – that offers the best views on board; and The Boutique, a shopping area where travelers can book private shopping experiences.

For families that want to experience more quality time together, Spectrum of the Seas will introduce the two-level, 2,809-square-foot Ultimate Family Suite, accommodating up to 11 guests. The three-bedroom suite, which will include a master bedroom with a bathroom that extends over the side of the ship to provide unparalleled ocean views, along with two additional suites for grandparents and other family members. Kids have their own kid-friendly space on the upper level, complete with an in-suite slide that will transport them to the living area below. Everyone in the family can enjoy time together in the recreation room, featuring surround-sound equipment for a night of karaoke, movies or video games.

Spectrum of the Seas will feature an awe-inspiring three-level main dining room with 1,844 seats to serve a variety of Chinese and Western a la carte options rotating each day of the sailing. For guests looking for a more casual venue, the Windjammer Marketplace – 20 percent larger than those on Quantum Class ships – will offer a wide buffet selection of Chinese and Western dishes, including noodles, pizza, Japanese teppanyaki and mini hot pot.

Vacationers celebrating a special evening can enjoy a new specialty restaurant. Sichuan Red, located in the Royal Esplanade, will serve authentic cuisine from the Sichuan province of China. Royal Caribbean's popular signature restaurants, including Wonderland's Dadong – a new outpost of Chinese chef Dong Zhenxiang, renowned for his much-coveted roast duck dish; Jamie's Italian by British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver; Izumi Japanese cuisine; and Chops Grille will join the lineup as well. In addition, the new Leaf and Bean traditional tea room and café parlor will debut on the Royal Esplanade. The quaint spot will offer a range of authentic Chinese teas, classic coffee drinks as well as freshly baked Chinese and Western desserts and pastries.

New to Royal Caribbean and first on Spectrum of the Seas is Star Moment, a lively and energetic karaoke venue where family and friends can belt out and sing like stars. The cruise line also will enhance SeaPlex – the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea, where families can enjoy bumper cars, roller skating and basketball – with new augmented reality walls and floors, providing guests with thrilling, high-tech interactive experiences.

Additional innovations guests will find on board include the North Star, a glass capsule that takes guests more than 300 feet above the ocean for incomparable panoramic views; RipCord by iFly, a heart-pounding skydiving simulator experience; and the FlowRider surfing simulator. Travelers also will be dazzled with Spectrum's cutting-edge and transformative venues, such as Two70 with its expansive floor-to-ceiling windows offering breathtaking, 270-degree views of the ocean.

The venue returns with its signature Vistarama technology, which transforms the panoramic windows into a projection surface more than 100 feet wide and over 20 feet tall showcasing spectacular digital shows. The innovative Vistarama is complemented by six agile Roboscreens, measuring over 7 feet tall and controlled by powerful, yet nimble, robotic arms that create scenes as they soar and twist solo or as one. This unique state-of-the-art venue serves as a great room for relaxing by day and an immersive, multimedia entertainment spectacular by night.

Royal Caribbean will deliver a more diversified lineup of cruises in the Asia region for 2019, which includes new longer sailings with exciting first-time destinations, weekend cruises for quick getaways, warm winter itineraries to tropical destinations – to escape the cold weather, and special holiday and festival sailings to discover new cultures and traditions. Guests can choose from 27 unique itineraries, featuring 23 destinations across three countries, departing from ports such as Shanghai, Tianjin, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China.

When Spectrum of the Seas debuts in April 2019, she will sail a 51-night Global Odyssey from Barcelona, Spain to Shanghai, taking vacationers to 13 countries. Guests with limited time also can choose to sail one or more of the five separate segments of the Global Odyssey. When Spectrum arrives at her new home in Shanghai in June 2019, she will introduce new itineraries with visits to new ports, such as Hakodate and Niigita, Japan; Ilocos, Philippines; and Vladivostok, Russia. In winter 2019, the ship will reposition to Hong Kong to offer special holiday cruises.

Meanwhile, the iconic and widely popular Quantum of the Seas will sail her farewell season from Shanghai before moving to Tianjin in summer 2019. Voyager of the Seas is set to return to Hong Kong and Shenzhen for the summer, and will sail a variety of itineraries calling on Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines.

Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection Opens Reservations
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. today announced the opening of reservations for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. With a leisurely cruising style, the legendary service of The Ritz-Carlton, and ports at sought after destinations around the world, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will deliver one-of-a-kind experiences to its guests onboard and transform the luxury cruising industry.

Reservations are now open for the inaugural season of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, set to take the seas in February 2020. "As the first luxury hotel company to bring the legendary service and ambience of its resorts to sea, we are thrilled to offer guests a new way to create memories with The Ritz-Carlton," said Lisa Holladay, Global Brand Leader for The Ritz-Carlton. "From the yacht's design, to programming onboard and ashore, every aspect of the voyage has been carefully created to embody the signature service and casual luxury of a Ritz-Carlton resort. We look forward to officially welcoming guests onboard The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection as we open reservations."

Reservations are now open for the inaugural season of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, set to take the seas in February 2020. With several distinct itineraries available in 2020, guests have the option to book back-to-back voyages without repeating ports, allowing them to explore a wider range of destinations and delve into the local culture at each port.

"The opening of reservations marks an exciting milestone for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, which is set to redefine luxury at sea," said Doug Prothero, CEO of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. "Whether you are looking for culture, adventure, or the chance to go off the beaten path, we are thrilled to be able to invite guests to explore the world with The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection."

Customers are also encouraged to visit the newly launched website for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, which offers full details of itineraries, pricing, and onboard experiences. Guests can browse for voyages by region, departure date or ports of interest using the "Find a Cruise" feature, view suite and fare information, explore the yacht experience, and more. The website additionally features a downloadable digital brochure for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, with engaging imagery and further itinerary information for the inaugural season.

Designed with a yachting lifestyle in mind, the first of three bespoke yachts in The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will stop at both signature and iconic destinations. Its intimate size allows for the vessels to sail into coveted city harbors around the world, and the relaxed pace of the yachts offers both daytime and overnight ports of call, giving guests more flexibility for their time on land. The first yacht will cruise a wide variety of destinations, including the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America, Canada and Northeastern United States. Voyages will range from seven to ten nights with ports including Barbados, Cartagena, Bordeaux, Copenhagen, Mykonos, Portofino and many more. Each itinerary is packed with unique programming at each destination, from the Christening Celebration on the Inaugural Voyage to the Monaco Grand Prix, Edinburgh Military Tattoo, exploring the yachting playgrounds of the Greek Isles, Balearic Islands and French Riviera, as well as celebrating the holidays in the Caribbean.

The specially designed yacht will measure 190-meters, accommodate up to 298 passengers and feature 149 suites, each with its own private terrace. The yacht will also feature two 158 square-meter lavish Owner's suites, each with its own private whirlpool, modern craftsmanship and interior finishes jointly designed by The Ritz-Carlton and leading design firm Tillberg Design of Sweden. The onboard experience will reflect the sublime comfort and unparalleled level of individualized guest service for which the iconic Ritz-Carlton brand is recognized, with one of the highest staff to guest service ratios in the cruise industry.

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection guests will enjoy an all-inclusive luxury sailing experience including spacious accommodations, onboard activities and entertainment, beverages, multiple dining venues, onboard gratuities, WiFi and watersports from the yacht's marina. Signature experiences available for an additional fee include a culinary experience at Aqua, the yacht's signature restaurant designed by Michelin-starred chef Sven Elverfeld, spa treatments, and immersive excursions offered through The Shore Collection. Voyage prices vary based upon the itinerary and season.

The yachts of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection are also available for private charter.

Royal Caribbean to Eliminate Plastic Straws By End of 2018
All 50 ships across the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. fleet will ring in 2019 free of plastic straws. Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, TUI Cruises, and Pullmantur Cruceros are eliminating plastic straws en route to comprehensive plastics elimination programs across their brands.

For over a year now, RCL ships have begun implementing a "straws upon request" policy. That program will be taken a step further by the start of 2019, when guests requesting a straw will receive a paper straw instead of a plastic one. Guests also will begin seeing Forrest Stewardship Council-certified wood coffee stirrers and bamboo garnish picks as part of RCL's plastic reduction strategy.

"Healthy oceans are vital to the success of our company," said Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "For over 25 years, our Save the Waves program has guided us to reduce, reuse, and recycle everything we can. Eliminating single-use plastics is another step in that program."

After straws, stirrers and picks, the company's next efforts will focus on other single-use plastics such as condiment packets, cups, and bags. A full plastics audit is underway, with the overall plan to be completed in phases by 2020.

Seabourn Announces 2019 Europe Itineraries
Seabourn will be exploring Europe in a big way in 2019 with a menu of exciting travel options for guests to discover natural beauty, bespoke culture, art, architecture, history, and more. By the numbers, the line's 2019 season in Europe will have four Seabourn vessels – including Seabourn Encore, Seabourn Quest, Seabourn Odyssey, and the newest, Seabourn Ovation – offering more than 66 individual departures from 14 different embarkation gateways.

There will be more than 200 different European destinations on cruises of 7 to 45 days around the continent, including the Aegean and the Greek Isles in the east; the grand cities and picturesque yacht harbors of the Western Mediterranean; the Scottish Highlands, the Baltic and Norway's North Cape; as well as Norwegian fjords, Iceland and Greenland combined on adventurous summer cruises. As always, guests will enjoy hand-picked selections of fascinating destinations, from marquee ports to lesser-known treasures, while Seabourn, through its partnership with UNESCO World Heritage, presents guests opportunities to enrich each journey with exclusive and exciting shore experiences.

"There are so many ways to tour Europe, but none as inviting as cruising the harbors and coasts on an ultra-luxury Seabourn vessel," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "With 30 years of history for our company, it goes without saying that Seabourn is an expert in European travel. Our four vessels bound for Europe in 2019 will offer desirable overnight stays, new and notable ports of call, and selected itineraries enhanced by special programming, including Seabourn Conversations featuring visionary experts and more. Plus Seabourn Ovation, our newest ship, and Seabourn Quest will offer guide-led optional, for-charge Ventures by Seabourn expeditions in select ports to give guests more choices."

Seabourn strives to find new and interesting ports of call to keep both first-time and loyal guests excited, intrigued and coming back for more. The 2019 season in Europe will offer more than a dozen new and notable ports that the line either hasn't previously visited or hasn't been back to in years, including Greenwich (London) and Cowes, Isle of Wight, England; Vik I Sogn, Haugesund, Sandefjord and Fredrikstad, Norway; Durres (Tirane), Albania; Mgarr (Victoria), Malta; Amorgos, Greece; Dunmore East (Waterford), Ireland; England; Helsingør, Denmark; Dundee, United Kingdom; and Motril (Granada), Spain.

With so many highlights dotting the 2019 season in Europe, here's a quick ship-by-ship breakdown of what to anticipate:

• Seabourn Ovation will return to the north with a series of the line's signature summer staple of seven-day voyages in the Baltic between Copenhagen and Stockholm, including three full days in St. Petersburg, Russia. The schedule also includes several "hidden gems," including 14-day voyages combing majestic Norway & the North Cape with the British Isles, and a 14-day southward cruise from Dublin to Lisbon via Paris.

• Seabourn Encore will spend the summer in Europe centered in the most popular regions of the Western Mediterranean, highlighting the Iberian Peninsula, Malta, Sicily and the Italian & French Rivieras, with a series of seven-, 10- and 11-day cruises between Rome, Barcelona and Monte Carlo before finishing the season and positioning to Athens.

• Seabourn Quest will offer a series of longer, adventurous 15-day voyages exploring the spectacular scenery and wildlife of the British Isles, Iceland and Norway, including the North Cape. These voyages will feature a stellar expedition team on board and numerous optional Ventures by Seabourn Zodiac, hiking and kayaking excursions. The ship's Europe season culminates with a pair of three-week cruises highlighting the very best of Iceland, Greenland and other North Atlantic isles, custom-crafted to provide unforgettable Ventures by Seabourn opportunities, sailing 21 days from Dover to Reykjavik and then 24 days from Reykjavik to Montreal.

• Seabourn Odyssey will concentrate on popular ports throughout the Mediterranean region, including the Aegean and Adriatic coasts. The seven- and 14-day voyages will explore the spectacular Greek Isles and the picturesque beauties of Croatia, Slovenia and Montenegro. In addition, the ship will offer repeated opportunities for first-time cruisers and devotees to discover Rome and the Rivieras, Spain and Morocco. Most of the ship's itineraries are combinable for longer cruises.

Holland America Line Launches New Website
Holland America Line has launched a completely reimagined website at HollandAmerica.com centered around a new, intuitive online booking process, easy navigation, bold images that capture the cruise experience and detailed information, making it an up-to-date resource for both consumers and travel professionals.

The focal point of the homepage is a new cruise search toolbar that allows visitors to easily select where they want to cruise, the port of departure, dates and cruise length. The homepage also features a top navigational menu that provides quick access to Holland America Line's cruising destinations, onboard experiences, cruise fare offers and information for guests who already are booked.

"Just as we have elevated all aspects of the guest experience on board, we wanted our website to be as informative and easy as possible," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "The new website is very intuitive and user-friendly, and those who want to learn more about the Holland America Line experience, research itineraries or make an online booking are going to appreciate the ease of functionality."

The new cruise-planning toolbar on the homepage lets guests select where, when and how long they want to cruise, the resulting cruise itineraries are displayed on a new page with the option of using additional, deeper filters that include ship, specific ports of call, a more precise region, and Land First or Cruise First for Alaska Land+Sea Journeys.

Once a cruise itinerary is selected, a new page displays the itinerary, stateroom options, ship details and activities on that particular cruise. The Itinerary tab shows the day-to-day route with an interactive map that breaks the cruise down by day and follows the journey showing ports and points of interest. Web users may opt for a traditional list view as well.

The Rooms tab compares accommodations and pricing, giving guests the ability to select their preferred location (forward, midship or aft). The cruise fare then displays, showing alternative cruising dates for rate comparison. The Ships tab provides history and insight about the ship, while Activities showcases all of the great enrichment and entertainment experiences on board, including Explorations Central, America's Test Kitchen, Lincoln Center Stage, B.B. King's Blues Club, BBC Earth performances and more.

When all cruise selections have been finalized, the booking can be reserved through an easy check-out process and assigned to a travel professional if the user chooses.

Scrolling down the homepage, additional features include current promotions, select spotlight cruises and, initially for several weeks, a highlight video of the new website narrated by Ashford. Quick links go directly to the pages that provide information about Holland America Line's award-winning service and classic-style cruising, details about the more than 470 ports of call on the cruise line's carefully crafted itineraries, the onboard culinary experience, and enrichment activities and entertainment. EXC Tours can be searched by port and tour type.

The development of the site experience will continue in the months to come to build out a robust site with information, visuals, interaction and easy booking tools.

Currently, Holland America Line's website can be explored in English, German, Spanish and Dutch.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 61.14 - 3.47%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 103.68 - 2.66%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.56 + 1.30%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 52.27 - 1.43%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which famous liner came to the assistance of the Andrea Doria after she was struck by the Swedish liner Stockholm in 1956?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Holland America's Volendam and Veendam of 1971 both started life sailing under different names for a different cruise line. What were their original names and what line did they sail for?

Answer - The Veendam was formerly called the Argentina, and was purchased from Moore McCormack Line. The Volendam was formerly called the Brasil, and was also purchased from Moore McCormick Line. Our very first cruise was on the Veendam in 1974. We got the cheapest cabin on the ship along with several friends and had the time of our life - been cruising ever since.
courtesy of Frank Cicio


Cruise News - June 4, 2018

Norwegian Cruise Line Celebrates Norwegian Bliss
Last night, Norwegian Cruise Line executed an industry-first event with the christening of Norwegian Bliss broadcasted throughout the ship's multiple venues to the over 2,500 guests in attendance. Following the official bottle-break led by Godfather Elvis Duran, guests were in awe as a bevy of stars performed in six different venues including the Bliss Theater where three-time Grammy award-winning rock band and headliner, Train, sang fan-favorite songs including "Drops of Jupiter," "Calling All Angels," "Hey Soul Sister" and their new hit, "Call Me Sir."

The queen of disco, Gloria Gaynor, also performed to an electric crowd, where guests danced to some of her greatest hits including "I Will Survive."

Performances from local Seattle talent included rapper and music producer Sir Mix-a-Lot, b-boy crew Massive Monkees, and the Northwest Tap Connection, a youth program with a mission to provide quality dance and job opportunities to under-served communities. Also in the talent lineup was rapper Tone Loc, Steve Harwell of Smash Mouth, violin duo Sons of Mystro, the Molly Callinan Band and Wally Palmar of the Romantics.

On board talent also participated in the day's events with performances by the Jersey Boys, ¡HAVANA! and the Beatles cover band, with each venue hosted by Norwegian cruise directors and members of Elvis Duran and The Morning Show.

"What an extraordinary day it has been," said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. "To have Elvis, Train, Gloria Gaynor, Sir Mix-a-Lot and local talent from Seattle help celebrate the christening of Norwegian Bliss, demonstrates our commitment to entertainment and unrivaled guest experiences."

Earlier in the day Norwegian's senior director of guest experiences and innovation, Simon Murray, and Tom Norwalk, president and chief executive officer of Visit Seattle, hosted an intimate event on one of the top decks honoring the continued partnership between Norwegian Cruise Line and the Port of Seattle. After a performance by Northwest Tap Connection, two skydivers descended over Norwegian Bliss bearing banners – "#NorwegianBliss" and "Norwegian Bliss." Shortly after, Andy Stuart dropped in for a surprise appearance to present the local group with a donation of $10,000, representing the company's continued support for the city and its community.

Norwegian Bliss will cruise seven-day voyages to Alaska from Seattle beginning June 2 and then in October she will sail select voyages to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles. For her fall/winter season, she will sail to the Eastern Caribbean from Miami and in 2019; she will sail from New York City to the Bahamas and Florida, the Southern and Western Caribbean.

Crown Princess Returns To Service With New Features Following Ten-Day Dry Dock
Princess Cruises guests sailing onboard Crown Princess in the sought-after Mediterranean this summer will not only enjoy the iconic sites, from Barcelona to Rome to Athens, they will also be enveloped by new onboard offerings after an extensive ten-day dry dock. Completed last month, these enhancements in Freeport, Bahamas at Grand Bahama shipyard continue the line's "Come Back New Promise" campaign focused on investing more than $450 million across the global fleet.

Sailing on a series of Mediterranean voyages for the 2018 summer season, Princess guests will return from touring ancient civilizations and historical museum collections to find new culinary offerings, upgraded accommodations, relaxing options in the Lotus Spa and more. After a summer in the Mediterranean, Crown Princess takes Princess guests to the Caribbean where award-winning shore excursions and fascinating onboard programs bring the culture and colors of the islands to life.

"Crown Princess first debuted in 2006 with several industry-first offerings, including our revered adults-only Sanctuary," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "Now, 12 years later, we're continuing our commitment to offer Crown Princess guests the next evolution of signature Princess product innovations while they cruise to their bucket-list destinations."

Crown Princess now proudly displays the line's signature logo on her bow and has new and enhanced offerings onboard including: Top-Deck Dining Venues – Four Princess top-deck outdoor dining offerings have been revitalized, renamed and enhanced, including:

• The Salty Dog Grill (formerly Trident Grill) – guests can indulge in a variety of signature Princess burgers grilled up with 100 percent all-beef patties and buns freshly baked onboard, or choose from new Street Tacos made with grilled chipotle-lime chicken or roasted sweet potato-green chile at the new Salty Dog Grill. For a nominal charge, "The Ernesto" burger, from Chef Ernesto Uchimura, voted "#1 Burger at Sea" by Cruise Critic, is also available, where guests can accompany their selections with loaded fries in tempting varieties include chili cheese and bacon & cheese. Classic hot dogs round out the menu offerings at the new on-deck dining venue.

• Slice (formerly Prego Pizzeria) – featuring west coast and east coast offerings, Princess guests will enjoy the cruise line's signature classic Neapolitan-style pizza that has been voted "Best Pizza at Sea" by USA Today. New menu items include Deep Dish Focaccia layered with marinara, meatballs and cheese, California Artisanal Toast including Cali-Avocado or Caprese, as well as Sliced Stromboli, an east coast take on an Italian calzone filled with deli meats and cheese.

• Coffee & Cones (formerly Sundaes Ice Cream Bar) – offering treats of gourmet ice-cream sandwiches, complimentary ice cream cones and now brewing specialty coffee on the top deck, serving New Grounds Crafted Coffee.

• The Mix (formerly Mermaid's Tale) – the poolside bar has been refreshed and the brightly lit surroundings create a festive atmosphere for guests celebrating the day or catching up with friends and family.

Princess Luxury Bed – available in every stateroom aboard Crown Princess, the Princess Luxury Bed was developed by Princess Cruises in collaboration with board-certified sleep expert, Dr. Michael Breus and renowned HGTV designer Candice Olson. The bed offers the ultimate night of sleep at sea combining the science of sleep with the pinnacle of design.

Club Class Mini-Suites – Crown Princess offers Club Class Mini-Suites, the new premium stateroom category featuring VIP amenities and exclusive dining. This elevated mini-suite category features select perks including new Club Class Dining, a reserved dining area with expedited seating and expanded menu options, as well as priority embarkation and disembarkation.

Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Center – for cruisers ages 3-17, Crown Princess will offer a reimagined youth center – Camp Discovery – created in partnership with Discovery, as part of the cruise line's Discovery at SEA program. Catering to specific age groups, kids and teens can make new friends and participate in activities specially designed to help them discover, play, create and huddle. Camp Discovery programs are being delivered onboard while we continue the transformation which will be completed by early summer.

Enhanced Boutiques – guests will enjoy aesthetic enhancements to the Shops of Princess, offering an upgraded shopping experience, such as a branded Effy Fine Jewelry boutique. There will also be new products to choose from featuring a collection of Princess branded athletic wear and logo apparel displayed in a newly designed Logo shop.

Casino – guests ready to take a gamble will take their chances surrounded by new carpet, light fixtures and bar TV screens.

Lotus Spa & Fitness Center – a space where guests can relax and invigorate, salon and treatments rooms have been upgraded and the latest in fitness equipment is now available.

Further general refurbishing and technical updates have also been implemented aboard Crown Princess.

Princess Cruises Unveils 2019-2020 Mexico Voyages
Princess Cruises will bring the flavors and fun of Mexico in 2019 and 2020 with cruises to top ports of call and enhanced onboard culinary offerings, entertainment options and shore excursions. With more than 50 years of experience sailing the region, Princess Cruises brings guests to the best ports in Mexico including Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, and Cabo San Lucas.

Highlights for the 2019-2020 season include the introduction of one of the line's newest ships to Mexico, Royal Princess, for her first full season based in Los Angeles. Royal Princess will offer 27 total departures including seven-day Mexico itineraries, plus opportunities offering guests more time in port with an overnight in Cabo San Lucas on every 5-day Cabo San Lucas Getaway sailing.

As the only cruise line to sail year-round out of San Francisco, Princess also offers Grand Princess roundtrip 10-day Mexico itineraries in 2019. Star Princess will make her return to the west coast in 2019 as well, featuring 10-day Baja Peninsula & Sea of Cortez with roundtrip departures out of Los Angeles with an overnight in Cabo San Lucas.

"Sailing the waters of Mexico honors the heritage of Princess cruising, with our first voyage in 1965 to the Mexican Riviera," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "Now, we provide guests more opportunities to experience the best of the region through culinary partnerships and immersive shore excursions, all while enjoying longer stays in port."

Developed in collaboration with Bill Esparza, noted author and leading expert on Latin American cuisine, the line's enhanced shore excursion offerings along the west coast take guests off the beaten path, on culinary adventures featuring the local flavors of the region. Esparza has developed culinary shore excursions for Princess in Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta.

"Developing excursions for Princess guests presented a unique opportunity to provide exposure to local chefs and flavors from Latin America that can only be found on the west coast," said Esparza. "I wanted to present guests with new ingredients, off the beaten path experiences and personalities from around the region to provide the most authentic look into this part of the world."

Guests booking Mexico cruises will also be introduced to the flavors, colors and traditions of Mexico through onboard programming including live mariachi performances, an authentic Mexican buffet, culinary demonstration, margarita making demonstration, tequila tastings, local crafts and activities and a celebratory Mexican Fiesta event.

Viking Announces New Itinerary To Experience The Passion Play In Oberammergau
Viking today announced a new river cruisetour itinerary that will allow guests the rare opportunity to experience The Passion Play in Oberammergau, which is performed only every 10 years. Traveling between Munich and Budapest from May through October 2020, the Oberammergau, The Passion Play itinerary will focus on the 42nd installment of The Oberammergau Passion Play and will allow guests to explore destinations in Germany, Austria and Hungary.

"We are committed to providing our guests with opportunities that bring local culture and history to life both onboard our ships and onshore," said Richard Marnell, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Viking. "To help our guests learn about a destination through 'Working World,' 'Local Life,' or 'Privileged Access' experiences, such as this historic performance, is what we call 'The Viking Way' of exploration."

On the 10-day journey, guests will experience a performance of The Passion Play, a depiction of the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ performed by local citizens of Oberammergau once every decade since 1634. Sailing on Viking's award-winning 190-guest Viking Longships, guests will be able to immerse themselves in the rich culture during each port of call along the Danube River. In addition to The Oberammergau Passion Play performance, highlights from the new Oberammergau, The Passion Play itinerary include:

• Enjoy a Tour and Organ Concert in Passau: Explore the Italianate-style streets of Passau and stop in to view Europe's largest pipe organ with more than 17,000 pipes at the magnificent 17th-century St. Stephen's Cathedral.

• Experience a Mozart & Strauss Concert in Vienna: In the city celebrated for its music, enjoy a special classical concert including the beautiful strains of Strauss waltzes and selections from Mozart's The Magic Flute—music that has defined this magical city.

• Explore Nuremberg's History: The dramatic stage on which the Third Reich rose and fell, get a glimpse into Nuremberg's World War II history including Zeppelin Field and the Palace of Justice, the venue of the Nazi war trials.

• Soak in Budapest's Thermal Baths: Experience firsthand the restorative benefits of bathing in the thermal waters that flow through Budapest, which was discovered by ancient Romans and still today, a regimen most residents cannot live without.

Princess Cruises to Screen 2018 FIFA World Cup Games
Princess Cruises guests sailing all over the world will be able to spectate and cheer on their favorite team during the single biggest tournament of the most popular sport on the planet – the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. Broadcasting all 64 soccer games aboard nine cruise ships, the matches start June 14, culminating with the final in Moscow on July 15.

Games will air on the cruise line's signature Movies Under the Stars outdoor screens, which have space for hundreds of guests to catch the action and watch the ball hit the net.

"After our guests return to their cruise ship from a day of exploring exciting destinations, they will be thrilled to watch the worldwide phenomenon of the FIFA World Cup," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "What better way to enjoy this dynamic, global tournament than on our giant outdoor movie screens against the backdrop of sea and sky."

2018 FIFA World Cup games will be shown aboard:

• Sea Princess (World Cruise)

• Crown Princess (Mediterranean)

• Diamond Princess (Japan)

• Emerald Princess (Alaska)

• Majestic Princess (China)

• Pacific Princess (Northern Europe)

• Regal Princess (Scandinavia and Russia)

• Royal Princess (British Isles)

• Sapphire Princess (Baltic)

Soccer fans will also enjoy themed entertainment and activities, including interactive game play with PlayStation units on Movies Under the Stars, obstacle course competitions, and penalty shoot outs for prizes, such as specialty dining, with a small entry fee going to charity, plus swag giveaways, themed bites and beverages.

The FIFA World Cup is just one of many special events shown on the Movies Under the Stars screens, including Monday Night Football, the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards. The giant LED screens are more than 300 square feet in size, with a 69,000-watt sound system and have sufficient lighting power to be seen clearly at mid-day and heard even while the ship is moving at full speed – offering cruise guests a movie experience comparable to the best shoreside movie theater.

Carnival Corporation's CSMART Academy Named Center of Safety Excellence
Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest leisure travel company, today announced that its Center for Simulator Maritime Training (CSMART) Academy has been recognized as the world's first Center of Safety Excellence by DNV GL, the world's leading classification society and a recognized advisor for the maritime industry.

The award was presented today by Paal Johansen, global cruise ship director DNV GL – Maritime, at a ceremony at the CSMART Academy in Almere, the Netherlands, outside of Amsterdam. Accepting on behalf of the CSMART Academy were Vice Admiral Bill Burke (ret.), chief maritime officer for Carnival Corporation; David Christie, senior vice president of maritime quality assurance for Carnival Corporation; and Captain Hans Hederström, managing director of the CSMART Academy.

Carnival Corporation's CSMART Academy is the world-renowned maritime training, professional development and research facility that is part of the seven-acre Arison Maritime Center. Founded in 2009 and staffed with one of the world's most experienced maritime training faculties, the CSMART Academy provides rigorous annual safety training for nearly 7,000 bridge and engineering officers responsible for the navigation and operation of the world's largest fleet of cruise ships from the corporation's nine cruise line brands – Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, P&O Cruises (Australia), Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises, P&O Cruises (UK) and Cunard.

"Carnival Corporation and its cruise line brands have made a strong commitment to safety, exemplified by its investments in training and personnel development in its CSMART Academy," said Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of DNV GL - Maritime. "Carnival Corporation's organizational focus on continuous improvement throughout their officers' careers, and the innovative application of training simulators, is a testament to their drive to go beyond compliance. We are pleased to present CSMART Academy with our Center of Safety Excellence award. It is very well deserved."

"We are honored by this recognition of our relentless commitment to the safety and comfort of our guests as the top priority for all of Carnival Corporation's cruise line brands," said Hederström. "Our CSMART Academy faculty and staff include some of the world's top maritime experts, and we are privileged to support the ongoing training of the bridge and engineering officers from each of our nine cruise line brands. It is all made possible by our corporation's collective commitment to safety and significant investment in innovative simulator equipment, technology, instructional tools and curriculum."

The CSMART Academy's core faculty of 47 instructors is complemented by more than two dozen trained line instructors who alternate working on board a cruise ship with instructing at the CSMART Academy, creating a unique process for real-time information exchanges between instructors and officers at sea. Additionally, the Fleet Captain and Fleet Engineer programs train 10 captains and 10 chief engineers, who then spend two to three years traveling among ships in the Carnival Corporation fleet, verifying that CSMART Academy training is practiced and maximized at sea.

The CSMART Academy currently offers 36 different training courses, well above the courses required by regulatory bodies. As part of the voluntary certification by DNV GL, constructive feedback was given towards improving the development of the CSMART Academy's training courses, such as defining measurable objectives and increasing transparency in course documentation.

The CSMART Academy features four full-mission bridge simulators, four full-mission engine room simulators, eight smaller part-task bridge simulators and 36 part-task engine room simulators – all of which can recreate a variety of scenarios and sea conditions at 60 different seaports around the world. These simulators are used to train bridge and engineering officers, including simulations focused on engine room and engine control room operations, environmental systems and exhaust gas cleaning systems.

The simulators were certified against DNV GL standards, with the assessors praising the resemblance to ships' operations and the high level of realism.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 63.34 - 1.42%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 106.51 - 3.00%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.54 - 3.75%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 53.03 - 2.03%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Holland America's Volendam and Veendam of 1971 both started life sailing under different names for a different cruise line. What were their original names and what line did they sail for?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which Atlantic liner was known by the following nickname: The Ship Beautiful?

Answer - Cunard's trans-atlantic liner Aquitania (1914-1949) was known as 'the ship beautiful". She held the record as the longest serving trans-atlantic express liner until recently when the beloved Queen Elizabeth 2 surpassed the Aquitania in length of service. I saw her in Boston in the late 1940's as a young boy. The only four stacker I ever saw.
courtesy of Larry Macdonald, Belmont, MA


Cruise News - May 28, 2018

Queen Latifah Names New Carnival Horizon
Carnival Cruise Line's newest ship, Carnival Horizon, was officially named by godmother Queen Latifah in a ceremony in New York yesterday that showcased the talented young artists from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital whose artwork adorns the Dreamscape, a stunning three-deck-high LED sculpture in the ship's atrium.

Following the ceremony, Latifah squared off against Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl champion Jake Elliott in Lip Sync Battle: Horizon modeled after the hit Paramount Network TV series and rolling out across the Carnival fleet.

Latifah rocked the house with her incredible interpretation of the Weather Girls classic "It's Raining Men," while Elliott had a chance to live out his rock star fantasies performing Whitesnake's arena anthem "Here I Go Again," all performed with back-up dancers from Carnival Horizon's Playlist Productions to a packed house in the Liquid Lounge.

But the big winner was St. Jude Children's Research Hospital which received a $100,000 donation from Carnival representing monies raised from various fundraisers, both onboard and ashore. The funds continue the line's ongoing support of St. Jude with more than $16 million raised in the fight against childhood cancer since the partnership began in 2010.

"Carnival Horizon's naming ceremony was one of our best yet, with Queen Latifah carrying out her duties as godmother then battling it out with Super Bowl champion Jake Elliott of my hometown Philadelphia Eagles in an entertaining Lip Sync Battle," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "We were also delighted to showcase the wonderfully talented children from St. Jude whose artwork on the Dreamscape will be forever associated with this spectacular ship," she added.

Added Latifah, "My time aboard Carnival Horizon was nothing short of incredible. In addition to having the honor of serving as the ship's godmother, meeting the amazing kids from St. Jude and their families and squaring off against Jake in an all-out Lip Sync Battle is certainly something I will always cherish."

"This is an absolute thrill for our patients and their families to have their artwork featured as a permanent display on this magnificent ship," said Richard Shadyac Jr., president and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "The ongoing support of Carnival team members and their customers around the globe for our lifesaving mission plays a critical role in advancing research and treatment for pediatric cancer and other life-threatening diseases."

As the newest ship in the fleet, Carnival Horizon introduces several innovations, including the first-ever Dr. Seuss water park, a new teppanyaki venue, and Smokehouse Brewhouse, a unique dining concept that combines real deal BBQ favorites created by Food Network star and longtime partner Guy Fieri, along with four craft beers brewed on board by brewmaster Colin Presby.

The second in the line's Vista-class series, Carnival Horizon also includes features like SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre, a Havana section with its own Cuban-themed bar and pool, and Family Harbor with extra-roomy staterooms and the Family Harbor Lounge.

Carnival Horizon kicks off a summer schedule from New York with a four-day cruise to Bermuda departing later today. The ship will operate four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean departures from New York through September then reposition to Miami for year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning later that month.

Number of Piracy Incidents Off The Coast Of East Africa Doubles In 2017
The number of piracy incidents doubled off the coast of East Africa in 2017 compared to 2016, according the annual State of Piracy report released today by One Earth Future (OEF)’s Oceans Beyond Piracy program. The report analyzes the human and economic impacts of maritime piracy and robbery at sea in the Western Indian Ocean Region, the Gulf of Guinea, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

“Pirate activity in 2017 clearly demonstrates that pirate groups retain their ability to organize and implement attacks against ships transiting the region,” says Maisie Pigeon, the report’s lead author.

Incidents in this maritime space have posed an additional threat to shipping transiting the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.

“There are now a wide range of threats to shipping near the Horn of Africa that have been complicated by the conflict and instability in Yemen,” says Phil Belcher, Marine Director of INTERTANKO. “We are advising our members to consider a more comprehensive security assessment to take into account other threats beyond traditional piracy emanating from the regional conflict in Yemen.”

Maritime crime in Latin America and the Caribbean is also on the rise.

“We have observed a significant increase in violent incidents and anchorage crime, particularly in the anchorages of Venezuela and the recent violent incidents off Suriname in the first part of this year,” says Pigeon.

Piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea continue at persistently high levels. In 2017, 1726 seafarers were impacted in a total of 97 incidents, despite the increased efforts of regional states and contracted maritime security providers. The report shows a US$13.2 million increase on spending by regional states on law enforcement and naval patrols, and that there has been a continued proliferation of contracted maritime security schemes. A South Korean vessel Munmu the Great was re-deployed to the Gulf of Guinea in response to the kidnapping of 3 South Korean fishermen in March. “Kidnap-for-ransom continues to plague the region, which is a trend that has unfortunately continued from 2016” says Pigeon. The report found that 100 crewmembers were taken hostage in 2016.

The piracy situation in Asia improved considerably in 2017, with overall incidents down by over 20% from 2016. Most encouraging was that kidnap-for-ransom attacks decreased from 22 in 2016 to just 4 in 2017. “We believe that much of the credit for this progress is due to the trilateral patrols between the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia,” says Gregory Clough, Ocean Beyond Piracy’s acting director.

Having assessed the state of global piracy and armed robbery dating back to 2011, OEF has concluded that piracy is just one piece of a number of issues affecting maritime security. Criminal gangs operating at sea have been observed moving between different crimes and can sustain themselves without necessarily resorting to piracy activity. OEF has observed growing consensus that piracy and other crimes cannot be comprehensively addressed unless the maritime community begins to address the broader issues that create insecurity at sea.

“Piracy is just one issue in a complex web affecting maritime security,” says Larry Sampler, OEF’s president. “Where there is good governance seas are safer, coastal communities are healthier, and the blue economies grow stronger. OEF is committed to promoting global maritime security.”

Costa neoRiviera Transferring To Aida in 2019
AIDA Cruises is adding a further ship to its fleet in 2019. AIDAmira, as the future cruise ship will be named, will sail for AIDA’s Selection program.

Felix Eichhorn, President AIDA Cruises, explains: “The feedback we have received from our guests and the high demand for our AIDA Selection program continually inspires us to keep expanding our variety of routes and to call at new dream destinations in the most beautiful regions in the world. Therefore, we are very pleased to have found with the Costa neoRiviera the perfect ship within the Costa Group for our explorer fleet at such short notice. Many of our guests have been hoping for AIDA cruises to South Africa for a long time. I am pleased that we are now able to fulfill this wish.”

Due to its size and design, AIDAmira is a perfect addition to the current three Selection ships. Since 2017, AIDAaura, AIDAcara and AIDAvita have been traveling unusual routes and have delighted over 157,000 guests. The AIDA Selection explorer program is ideal for cosmopolitan adventurers who would like to experience countries and cultures in an intensive and unique way.

Before going into service, the ship will be remodeled and refurbished. There will be two large pools and two whirlpools on the spacious sun deck of the 216-meter-long ship. From 624 staterooms, 96 will be suites, 80 of them with balconies. Guests can enjoy delicious variety in six bars and six restaurants. AIDAmira will depart on its maiden voyage on December 4, 2019, in Palma de Mallorca.

AIDAmira’s route will also be totally new for the AIDA program: In December 2019, guests will have a first-time opportunity to experience the natural wonders in southern Africa with AIDAmira. The departure and destination port on the 14-day route “South Africa & Namibia” is Cape Town. Further ports include Durban, East London and Lüderitz on the edge of the Namib desert. The multi-day stops in Cape Town on the cruises are an absolute highlight and give guests plenty of time to explore attractions such as Table Mountain and Lion’s Head. AIDAmira also stays overnight at Walvis Bay. In the large lagoon between the desert and the sea, guests can observe exotic species. AIDAmira cruises can be booked starting now.

While AIDAmira will expand the AIDA fleet from December 2019 onwards, the newbuild AIDAnova will be embarking on its first cruises already in November 2018. Two sister ships of AIDAnova are to follow in the spring of 2021 and 2023. The AIDA fleet will then include 16 ships.

Royal Caribbean Honors Actors Carlos And Alexa PenVega, With Baby Son Ocean, As First-Ever Godfamily
They said “YES!” Actors and avid Royal Caribbean International fans Carlos and Alexa PenaVega, along with their 17-month-old son Ocean, have accepted the honor to be Godfamily of the world’s largest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas. Royal Caribbean “popped the question” to the PenaVegas while the adventure-loving family was on board Symphony’s sister ship, Harmony of the Seas, to film Hallmark Channel’s Love at Sea – starring the couple opposite each other.

The young family has firsthand expertise on the distinct combination of high-energy experiences only found on Royal Caribbean, having celebrated a number of milestones on the award-winning Oasis Class ships, including getting engaged on Oasis of the Seas and spending their babymoon on Allure of the Seas. Royal Caribbean’s nearly 25-year relationship with Carlos began on his first cruise when he was just 4 years old, only to be beat by son Ocean, who sailed for the first time at 13 months. The newest ship to join the Royal Caribbean fleet, Symphony of the Seas redefines how guests of all ages stay and play, delivering the ultimate family adventure. The PenaVegas are globetrotters who inspire families as they explore and open themselves to a variety of the world’s most exciting cultures, foods and experiences.

“Carlos and Alexa have been an extension of our family for quite some time, and they truly personify our spirit of innovation and adventure in every way,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “We’re very excited to welcome them and their son Ocean as the first-ever Godfamily to officially name a ship. Their passion for cruising and commitment to family make them the perfect choice to serve as the guiding spirits for Symphony of the Seas.”

“Words can’t describe the overwhelming emotions we’re feeling,” said Carlos PenaVega, alongside Alexa and Ocean. “Royal Caribbean ships have been the backdrops to so many unforgettable moments in our life, and it means so much to us to be named Godfamily of Symphony of the Seas. Royal Caribbean continues to make amazing memories with our family, and this next adventure will be our best yet.”

The PenaVegas are no strangers to the spotlight. Carlos shot to fame after starring on the highly successful Nickelodeon musical comedy BIG TIME RUSH as “Carlos Garcia." Since then, he has starred in a number of feature films, as well as the highly acclaimed TV remake of GREASE: Live as “Kenickie.” Equally impressive, Alexa made a name for herself at an early age as “Carmen Cortez” in the Spy Kids film series. She has since starred in a number of feature films, TV series and originals, most recently Enchanted Christmas for Hallmark Channel. Together, Alexa, Carlos and Ocean boast a collective nine million followers across their social media platforms, and are the embodiment of the adventurous millennial family. The announcement of the PenaVegas as Godfamily is a first for the cruise industry, reinforcing Royal Caribbean’s promise to deliver unforgettable experiences to guests of all ages. The selection of a new ship’s guiding spirit, customarily a godmother, is rooted in a longstanding maritime tradition. The role is often held by renowned athletes, celebrities and royalty. In November 2018, Carlos, Alexa and Ocean will be the first family to have the honor of naming Symphony of the Seas and bestowing a blessing for the safekeeping of her crew and guests during a formal ceremony when she arrives to her permanent home in Miami.

Symphony brings to life every family’s vacation dreams with a bold lineup of energy-filled, heart-pumping experiences. The new ship offers the chance to go head to head in a glow-in-the-dark laser tag adventure, take the plunge down the Ultimate Abyss – the tallest slide at sea towering 10 stories high – or soak up some sun after getting drenched on epic waterslides and FlowRider surf simulators. After a day at play, families can dine at a variety of venues that will keep taste buds tingling, including Hooked Seafood, Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade and El Loco Fresh for Mexican street-food fare, all before picking up the sweetest of treats at Sugar Beach. Adding to the excitement is the Ultimate Family Suite, a one-of-a-kind, two-story home away from home designed for both the young and young at heart, where families can enjoy a signature in-suite slide, private cinema, LEGO wall, Luckey Climber vertical maze for kids and whirlpool, among other premium services and amenities.

Symphony of the Seas is homeported in Barcelona, Spain for the summer, visiting Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; and Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples, Italy as part of 7-night Mediterranean sailings. Beginning Nov. 9, Miami will become Symphony of the Seas’ year-round homeport, making Symphony the first new Oasis Class ship to sail from the cruise capital of the world and Royal Caribbean’s new state-of-the-art Terminal A. The ship’s 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises will feature visits to Perfect Day at CocoCay, the global cruise line’s newly revealed private destination in The Bahamas.

Presenting Carnival Horizon: The Musical
Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, Carnival Horizon, made its U.S. debut in New York May 23 and, to celebrate, the line has created an engaging musical production designed to showcase all the spectacular features and activities the new ship has to offer, Broadway-style.

The toe-tapping Carnival Horizon: The Musical was directed by Bold Man and the Sea Media and choreographed by Keith Young who has worked on numerous television shows, theatrical revues, commercials and major motion pictures.

Carnival Horizon: The Musical follows the ship’s Playlist Productions performers as they sing and dance their way across different venues of the ship, from the Dr. Seuss water park and atrium with its striking Dreamscape sculpture to the teppanyaki venue, Smokehouse Brewhouse restaurant and casino, bringing the spaces to life in a fun and lively way.

Carnival Horizon makes its U.S. debut May 23 with a VIP invitation-only pierside overnight in New York featuring a naming ceremony with godmother Queen Latifah who will also square off in a special version of Lip Sync Battle: Horizon against Jake Elliott of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

The ship then embarks on a summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean voyages May 24 from New York before repositioning to Miami for year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean sailings in September.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 64.25 - 0.80%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 109.80 + 2.41%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.60 - 4.19%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.13 + 1.71%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which Atlantic liner was known by the following nickname: The Ship Beautiful?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was the name given to the popular transatlantic route between New York, Algeciras, Naples, Genoa and Cannes and what ships were best known for making this trip?

Answer - It was informally known as "The Sunlane" and the ships of the American Export Lines, most notably the SS Constitution and her sister, Independence, sailed on this route.
courtesy of Rex Johnson, Miami, FL


Cruise News - May 21, 2018

Norwegian Bliss Becomes Largest Passenger Ship to Traverse Panama Canal
Norwegian Bliss completed yet another milestone, as she makes her way to her home port of Seattle, becoming the largest passenger ship to transit the Panama Canal since the completion of the canal’s expansion project in 2016.

As the newest and largest Norwegian Cruise Line ship at over 168,000 gross tons and a capacity of 4,004, double occupancy, she passed through the new set of locks, on both the Atlantic and Pacific sides. The new locks were constructed as part of the biggest enhancement project since the canal’s opening in 1914. Norwegian Bliss cruised through the canal, on her way to Los Angeles, California, and will complete her first Panama Canal cruise on Friday, May 25.

Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of Norwegian Bliss in Bremerhaven, Germany on April 19, 2018, after which she began her inaugural tour. Her exhibition commenced with a preview event for the European market, before she embarked on her transatlantic voyage on April 21. Upon her arrival to the U.S., preview events took place in New York City (May 4-6) and Miami (May 8-10), with upcoming events to take place in Los Angeles (May 25-27), and Seattle where she will celebrate her official christening (May 30-June 2).

“We are very proud to showcase our newest ship and celebrate one more exciting milestone with Norwegian Bliss as the largest passenger ship to transit the new Panama Canal,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line.” We are excited for this sixteenth ship in our young and modern fleet to begin welcoming guests in her home port of Seattle and provide them with the outstanding service, dining, entertainment and amenities for which we are recognized.”

Following her U.S debut in New York City, Norwegian Bliss made an appearance in Miami for a two-day inaugural preview cruise from May 8-10 with brand partners, key media and industry representatives on board. Among the guests were Norwegian Bliss’ Godfather, Elvis Duran and members of the cast from the Z100 morning show. Also present was renowned marine life artist, Wyland, who designed the ship’s hull art, entitled “Cruising with the Whales,” and who saw his finished work for the first time since the unveiling in January when he visited the Meyer Werft shipyard. The engaging and beautiful art prominently features a stunning image of a mother humpback whale and her calf as the centerpiece of the design, signifying the beauty of Alaska and the importance of the sustainability and conservation of our oceans.

Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas Arrives in Southampton Following Makeover
Independence of the Seas, voted the UK’s favourite cruise ship*, and one of the Royal Caribbean International fleet, arrived today at her new home in Southampton, amped up with all new experiences and boasting even more extraordinary features after her amazing, family-focused multi-million pound makeover.

Dubbed ‘the ultimate family ship’, Independence of the Seas has an array of stunning new features to delight kids and adults alike. For the first time ever, guests can hop into the Sky Pad, an out-of-this-world new virtual reality bungee trampoline experience, and splash away their days at interactive aqua park, Splashaway Bay, which is bigger and better than ever before.

The reimagined ship also includes a host of other new features:

• The Perfect Storm, a duo of racing waterslides called Cyclone and Typhoon.

• Glow-in-the-dark laser tag, an experience in Studio B unlike any other, where friends and family can team up to play “Battle for Planet Z”.

• Puzzle Break, a new escape room experience where competitors can put their minds to the test, working together to find hidden clues and solve a series of high-tech riddles to unravel a mystery. With only 60 minutes of play, the excitement builds with each tick of the clock.**

• Breathtakingly beautiful new lounges and Panoramic Oceanview staterooms adds an extra bit of extraordinary to Independence. With stunning wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling views, guests can soak up the feeling of standing on the bridge of the ship and watching the sunset over the coastline, all from the privacy of their own stateroom.

• Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, enables sports fans to enjoy all the biggest live sporting events over ice-cold beers, wings, sliders and more.

• Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, the exotic Asian-inspired dining experience gives guests the chance to enjoy fresh sushi and experience skilled chefs cooking tableside on teppanyaki grills.

• Fish & Ships, a poolside eatery where guests can grab quintessentially British seaside treats.

• Sugar Beach candy shop, a wondrous world of delicious delights, along with a few exciting surprises.

The icing on the cake is that all this can now be enjoyed by UK holiday makers with the added convenience of sailing from Southampton.

A real gem in Royal Caribbean International’s fleet of 25 ships, her return will not only add innovation, but also investment to the area, as each ship visit is worth an estimated £2million to the local economy - totalling a whopping £44million a year.

Managing Director, Royal Caribbean International UK and Ireland, Ben Bouldin said “Holiday time is precious, and travellers today have higher expectations and more options than ever before. We don’t just want to meet these expectations, but smash them and redefine how to holiday. From our largest yet hibachi restaurant to a virtual reality bungee trampoline experience, Independence of the Seas is set to be the most spectacular ship sailing out of Southampton this coming season.”

Guests will be welcomed onboard for her first new sailing on 15th May 2018 where she will embark on a two-night cruise to Paris from Southampton. Guests can dabble in modern art at the fabulous Musée d’Orsay, explore the Normandy coast, visit glorious Versailles or take in iconic sights such as the Paris Opera, Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.

Following her inaugural sailing, Independence of the Seas will call at destinations across Europe and the Mediterranean until November 2018.

Princess Cruises Announces 2019-2020 Caribbean Season
Princess Cruises guests sailing to the Caribbean will enjoy the white-sand beaches, warm sunshine and inviting island life on a variety of cruise itineraries to all three sought-after regions – Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean and Southern Caribbean. On sale today, the newly announced fall 2019 to spring 2020 program features the maiden season of Sky Princess, debuting in December 2019 on a three-day inaugural cruise, followed by a series of seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages.

The cruise line's fourth Royal-Class ship, Sky Princess, sets sail out of Ft. Lauderdale on a three-day, roundtrip cruise departing Dec. 4, 2019, visiting Princess Cays, recognized as one of the top cruise line private islands in the Bahamas. The ship then sails on alternating seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale Dec. 7, 2019 - April 4, 2020. Voyages offer late-night stays, during every visit to St. Thomas and Cozumel so guests can enjoy more time in these popular destinations.

"The Caribbean continues to be a highly desired destination for families, honeymooners and travelers alike, offering a memorable taste of the island life through its culturally diverse people, flavorful food and of course, the sun-drenched beaches," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "The new Sky Princess and our other beautiful ships provide comfort and convenience while visiting the many diverse Caribbean islands."

Onboard, our guests can celebrate the unique colors, cultures and flavors of the islands with our Rhythm of the Caribbean program. Princess guests can immerse themselves in one-of-a-kind cultural activities — from local music and crafts to meeting "Parrots in the Piazza" and captivating presentations from local experts like shark divers and treasure hunters.

At-a-glance, itinerary highlights for the 2019-2020 Caribbean season include:

• Five ships offering 10 itineraries and 119 departures onboard Caribbean Princess, Crown Princess, Pacific Princess, Regal Princess and the new Sky Princess.

• Regal Princess also offers seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages from Ft. Lauderdale with "More Ashore" stays in St. Thomas and Cozumel.

• Longer and more destination-rich itineraries to the Southern Caribbean aboard Caribbean Princess and Crown Princess, featuring 10- or 14-day cruises.

• Princess Cruises visits 25 Caribbean islands and six UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Belize Barrier Reef System and Antigua Naval Dockyard and related archeological sites

• Calls to the award-winning Princess Cays on every seven-day Eastern Caribbean voyage, and select Western and ten-day Southern Caribbean voyages.

A unique 14-day holiday cruise aboard Pacific Princess visiting Southern Caribbean island Mayreau for the first time.

Sky Princess also introduces the line's new Sky Suites, offering guests the largest staterooms on the ship, and best views with their most premium suite ever. With 270 degree views from the top of the ship and exclusive views of the ship's Movies Under the Stars screen, guests will enjoy a variety of new amenities exclusive to the Sky Suites. The Princess Cruises Sky Suites will be the first staterooms to accommodate up to five guests, and offer the largest balconies in the fleet with luxury furnishings. More details on the suites to be announced in the coming months.

Disney Cruise Line Announcces Lineup of Itineraries and Home Ports for Fall 2019
In fall 2019, Disney Cruise Line will return to favorite destinations and home ports on a variety of itineraries, including adventures to Bermuda, Bahamas, Baja, Canada and the Caribbean. With cruises ranging from two-night getaways to weeklong vacations and beyond, this season of sailings offers countless opportunities for families to delight in Disney magic, explore exotic locales and make lifelong memories together.

Sailings to Bermuda, Bahamas and Canada from New York

The Disney Magic returns to New York in September for a selection of departures to a diverse collection of destinations, including luxurious Bermuda, sun-kissed Bahamas and historic New Brunswick, Canada.

Three special five-night cruises feature two days in Bermuda, allowing extra time for guests to indulge in the island nation's famous pink-sand beaches, world-class shopping, abundant water activities and distinctive blend of British and Caribbean culture.

During two seven-night sailings from New York to the Bahamas, cruisers are treated to a double-dose of pixie dust. A stop at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay, is paired with a day at Port Canaveral, Florida, where every guest receives a one-day Walt Disney World Park Hopper ticket and round-trip transportation to the theme parks in nearby Orlando.

A single five-night cruise to Canada transports guests from New York to charming Saint John, New Brunswick with a stop in Bar Harbor, Maine. Saint John is the home of majestic natural phenomena like the renowned Reversing Falls and the world's highest tides, located where the Saint John River meets the Bay of Fundy.

Baja and Mexican Riviera Voyages from California

In September, the Disney Wonder sets sail for a limited engagement in San Diego, where guests embark on adventures to Baja and the Mexican Riviera. Baja itineraries highlight the region's famous beaches and exciting water activities with calls on Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada, Mexico. Two exclusive seven-night Mexican Riviera sailings feature the snorkeling and scuba diving hot spots Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Cabo San Lucas.

Disney Cruise Line guests can enrich their experience by combining select San Diego-based cruises with a pre-cruise package from Adventures by Disney, a leader in family guided group vacations. During this three-night itinerary, guests embark on a rare behind-the-magic visit to The Walt Disney Studios and Disney Archives, a private tour of Walt Disney Imagineering and a visit to the place where it all began — the Disneyland Resort.

Vacations to Bahamas and Caribbean from Texas

Beginning late November, the Disney Wonder will make Galveston its home port for a special series of sailings to the Caribbean and Bahamas, with options at four, six and seven nights. Caribbean cruises include stops in Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico; and Falmouth, Jamaica. Bahamian itineraries feature stops in Castaway Cay and Key West, Florida. Two of the Bahamian sailings also take guests to Nassau, Bahamas, while another includes an exclusive second day on Disney's private island.

Tropical Escapes from Florida

In fall 2019, the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy continue sailing guest-favorite itineraries to the Bahamas and Caribbean from Port Canaveral, while the Disney Magic returns to Miami in November with a variety of cruise lengths and itineraries.

The Disney Magic's diverse lineup includes three-, four- and five-night Bahamian sailings and five- and six-night Western Caribbean cruises, and most itineraries feature a day ashore at Castaway Cay. Other ports of call on Bahamian voyages include Nassau and Key West, while stops in Grand Cayman and Cozumel headline the Western Caribbean itineraries.

The Disney Dream sails three- and four-night cruises to Nassau and Castaway Cay. These itineraries make for the perfect family getaway, combining the magic of Disney with the ease and enjoyment of a tropical cruise vacation.

The Disney Fantasy sails seven-night Caribbean voyages, and every cruise includes a stop at Castaway Cay. Eastern Caribbean itineraries visit the Virgin Islands of Tortola and St. Thomas, and Western Caribbean cruises call on Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Falmouth. These weeklong experiences allow for even more family fun as guests make memories aboard their Disney cruise ship and at port in renowned tropical destinations.

The Disney Fantasy will also sail a selection of special itineraries. In October, an eight-night voyage transports guests south to St. Kitts, Antigua and San Juan, Puerto Rico, while a six-night Western Caribbean itinerary includes calls on Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico. Both itineraries are capped off with a day at Castaway Cay. In December, two unique seven-night itineraries include one cruise to San Juan, Tortola and Castaway Cay, and another voyage featuring two days on Disney's private island after visits to Cozumel and Grand Cayman.

Celebrity Cruises Unveils an Ahh-Inspiring Escape at The Spa on Celebrity Edge
A holistic wellness journey like no other on land or at sea, today Celebrity Cruises unveils The Spa on Celebrity Edge. With more than 22,000 sprawling sq. ft. for guests to renew, restore, and reinvigorate, The Spa was inspired by nature, and masterfully designed by world-renowned designer Kelly Hoppen, MBE, and features an ahh-inspiring assortment of treatments in collaboration with industry-leading partners.

"Our aspiration for The Spa was the same aspiration we have for Celebrity Edge – to provide our guests with a deeper and more profound connection to the sea," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "To start the revolution in relaxation, we turned once again to the visionary Kelly Hoppen to completely transform the spa experience and develop an atmosphere that envelops you in luxury and soothes your soul from the moment you walk in."

To create an environment that is both in harmony with nature and undeniably luxurious, Celebrity collaborated with Hoppen, who passionately brought her warm opulence to Celebrity Edge's accommodations, including the suites and The Retreat.

"The spa has always been a sacred space to me; as a young girl, I always dreamt of designing my very own spa and Celebrity Edge proved to be the perfect outlet for living out my dreams," said Hoppen. "A spa is a place where one goes to relax and be pampered, so for me The Spa had to be neutral in palette and complementary lighting, evoking a sense of calmness. Every aspect of the design is meaningful to me; from the dramatic crystal installation – which was inspired by the qualities that crystals have had on my life – to the imposing and dramatic, yet Zen sculpture acting as a reception desk."

Celebrity infused natural elements into every moment of the experience at The Spa through an original concept called SEA – inspired by the Sea, Earth, and the Air – which transcends the design of The Spa and treatments.

SEA unites every experience throughout the wellness journey. Bespoke blended essences fill the air, kickstarting the path to total bliss. The Relaxation Lounge surrounds guests in a Zen-like ambience, clearing their mind before their treatments begin. And every treatment starts with a unique welcome ritual to prepare one's mind, body, and spirit for the pure, unadulterated pampering to follow.

"As we curated The Spa journey with Celebrity, the inspiration behind this revolutionary concept was to connect guests with nature while delivering distinctive sensory experiences, uncompromising service, and a wealth of new wellness choices that are exclusive at sea," said Glenn Fusfield, President and CEO, One Spa World, LLC. "We've created a concept that not only evolves spa and wellness but sets the new standard."

Celebrity has teamed up with the leading authorities in their fields to harness cutting-edge technological and therapeutic innovations to create a spa experience unlike anything else. There are more than 124 treatments, including signature offerings such as the Ocean Spa Wave Massage, Hot Mineral Body Boost, Poultice-Powered Muscle Release, Zero Gravity Wellness Massage, Restorative Salt Stone Massage, and Thousand Flower Detox Wrap, to name a few.

From wellness to beauty to fitness, The Spa on Celebrity Edge also features a lineup of first-at-sea and brand-first offerings for guests to enjoy, including:

• Celebrity is excited to unveil the SEA Thermal Suite, the next evolution of the popular Persian Garden on the brand's current fleet, with eight distinctive therapeutic experiences harnessing the benefits of natural elements: the Hammam, Salt Room, Steam Room,

• Rainfall Water Therapy Room, Float Room, heated tile loungers, Infrared Sauna, and Crystalarium. AquaClass guests receive complimentary access to the SEA Thermal Suite, among other complimentary amenities

• The first line of ELEMIS BIOTEC facials ever offered on a Celebrity ship

• A specialty treatment table collection that's unrivaled at sea, including:

• Spa Wave MLW Amphibia Table: A first at sea, water filled cushions adapt to guests' unique anatomy for the ultimate in comfort, as well as customizable color therapy lighting

• WellMassage4D Table: This award-winning treatment table, a Celebrity first, uses breakthrough technology to deliver a deeper and more relaxing massage

• MLX Quartz Table: Another Celebrity first, warm crystals mold and shape around the body, releasing muscle tension and promoting a deeper state of relaxation

• Ideal Image Ocean, The Advanced MedSpa, is another first at sea, offering esthetic services such as Dysport Wrinkle Treatments and Restylane Dermal Filler Treatments

• Celebrity will partner with Kérastase, one of the world's most advanced luxury haircare brands, to introduce the first ever Kérastase Institute at sea

• The Barber offers traditional hot shaves and fresh cuts for the modern man

• Guests can relive their experience at The Spa at home with the same luxurious products used in treatments on board found at the interactive ELEMIS Ingredient Wall, which gives insights into the advanced science and natural ingredients behind the Celebrity's line of ELEMIS products

• Ready to feel the burn? The Fitness Center will get those endorphins flowing with more Celebrity firsts, like hot yoga, Technogym Group Cycle, Fitness on Demand, cardio boxing, the first Bungee Fit and Peloton bikes ever offered at sea

Celebrity Edge will spend her inaugural season sailing alternating seven-night eastern and western Caribbean cruise itineraries before transporting guests to the stunning vistas of the Mediterranean with a range of seven- to 11-night sailings from iconic cities like Barcelona and Rome in 2019.

Princess Cruises Releases South America 2019-2020 Cruise Vacations
Princess Cruises released its fall 2019 through spring 2020 season with 14 departures including voyages sailing to Antarctica. As part of the lineup, a 58-day South America voyage circumnavigates the continent and offers the opportunity to visit icons of the region, including Easter Island, Rio's Carnival, Machu Picchu, Iguazú Falls, Patagonia and more.

Coral Princess and Island Princess cover the entire continent for the 2019-2020 season, featuring three departures to the Antarctic Peninsula for scenic cruising, departing aboard Coral Princess December 20, 2019, January 5 and 21, 2020.

Itinerary highlights for the 2019-2020 South America season include:

• Two ships – Island Princess and the maiden season to South America for sister ship Coral Princess.

• Three departures on Coral Princess between Buenos Aires and Santiago including scenic cruising of the Antarctica Peninsula.

• A choice of 14 departures, visiting 31 destinations in 18 countries departing from Ft. Lauderdale, Santiago or Buenos Aires from December 2019 through March 2020.

• Nine itineraries, ranging in length from 14 to 58 days.

• Overnight stays in Lima (Callao), Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.

• Opportunities to visit to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

"South America is a highly-desired destination for our guests with so many landmarks and cultures to explore," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "This upcoming season also marks our return to Antarctica which we know is a huge draw for travel seekers and has been voted a top place to visit."

Guests also can choose to book a pre- or post-cruise land tours, visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites Iguazú National Park in both Brazil and Argentina or discover the "Hidden City of the Incas" in Machu Picchu, Peru.

Paul Gauguin Cruises Offers Stewards Of Nature Family Program
Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, is offering a way for families to explore Tahiti, French Polynesia, and the South Pacific together this summer and during the holidays through a joint program with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

The South Pacific is more than a dream destination; it is also a fascinating getaway where families can share activities, strengthen bonds, and create memories to last a lifetime. Through Paul Gauguin Cruises' partnership with WCS, the Stewards of Nature family program invites children and teens ages 7-17, as well as family members, to discover and value nature through hands-on, interactive learning.

Every day of the voyage, there is a combination of naturalist-led island and/or beach excursions, science activities, crafts, games, and other adventures. Depending on the itinerary, children might learn about underwater life during a snorkeling excursion, observe the ocean or the stars through binoculars or an onboard telescope, and learn about different kinds of marine life and their habitats. Other activities include going on a dolphin-watching expedition, swimming with sharks and rays, playing beach games, enjoying a Tahitian dance performance on board, and learning what it means to be a Steward of Nature.

All of the activities with the program are included for children and teens through a nominal fee ($349-$399, depending on length of voyage). Family members are invited and encouraged to participate in most activities for the additional cost of the shore excursions.

The Stewards of Nature family program is available on the following voyages:

7-Night Tahiti & the Society Islands

• June 16, 2018

• June 23, 2018

• July 28, 2018

• December 22, 2018 (Holiday Cruise)

• December 29, 2018 (Holiday Cruise)

7-Night Society Islands & Tahiti Iti

• June 30, 2018

10-Night Society Islands & Tuamotus

• June 6, 2018

• July 18, 2018

11-Night Cook Islands & Society Islands

• July 7, 2018

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 64.77 - 0.08%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 107.22 + 0.08%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.67 + 5.03%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 53.22 + 3.50%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the name given to the popular transatlantic route between New York, Algeciras, Naples, Genoa and Cannes and what ships were best known for making this trip?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
This week we have another visual Cruise Trivia Question. The picture below was featured in a cruise brochure from the 1960's. Name the ship.

Answer - The picture in this week's trivia contest is the SS Rotterdam (Rotterdam V) just outside the Sky Room on the open deck at the top of the ship.
courtesy of Bill Forsstrom, Cincinnati,OH


Cruise News - May 14, 2018

Seabourn Ovation Launched
Seabourn Ovation was officially launched on May 11 at a naming ceremony in Valletta, Malta, to commemorate its entry into service for the Seabourn fleet. One of the world's most highly-acclaimed actresses and singers, Elaine Paige, served as godmother and named the ship during a ceremony that lit up the UNESCO World Heritage site and the 2018 European Capital of Culture.

Seabourn Ovation was delivered on April 27 during an official handover ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy. Following the delivery ceremony, Seabourn Ovation began her maiden season with an 11-day inaugural voyage departing May 5 from Venice, Italy, and culminating with its arrival in Barcelona, Spain.

Seabourn Ovation will expand and build on the line's award-winning and highly acclaimed Odyssey-class ships, which revolutionized ultra-luxury cruising with enhanced accommodations and innovative amenities when they were introduced between 2009 and 2011. A sister ship to Seabourn Encore, Seabourn Ovation features 300 all-oceanfront suites and maintains the line's high ratio of space per guest, enabling highly personalized service.

Seabourn Ovation was fashioned by notable hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany with contemporary interiors, modern design elements and innovations consistent with Seabourn's reputation for understated elegance. Tihany's vision has delivered the world's finest ultra-luxury resort that happens to traverse the oceans of the world. The new ship will round out the current planned expansion of the line's award-winning, newest and most consistent fleet in the ultra-luxury segment.

The fifth all-suite ship in the Seabourn fleet, Seabourn Ovation offers a number of in-suite amenities to provide guests with a "home away from home" onboard experience, including a private veranda in every luxurious suite. Featuring striking design and sophisticated décor, each suite will include a comfortable living area, elegant bedding, a walk-in closet, in-suite entertainment options and a marble bathroom with separate bath and shower, and luxury bath products, including the exclusive Seabourn Signature Scents by Molton Brown.

Guests who sail on Seabourn Ovation will also find a number of innovative offerings and programs, including partnerships with a select group of companies and individuals whose dedication to superior quality, exceptional service and consistent customer satisfaction matches Seabourn.

These programs include "An Evening with Tim Rice," the evening entertainment experience created exclusively for the line in association with Belinda King Creative Productions; Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil, offering guests a holistic spa and wellness experience that integrates physical, social, environmental and spiritual well-being; and The Grill by Thomas Keller, reminiscent of the classic American restaurant from the 1950s and 1960s. Exclusive to Seabourn, The Grill is a unique culinary concept for Chef Keller, focusing on updated versions of iconic dishes.

Seabourn Ovation will spend the majority of its maiden season cruising the waters of Northern Europe, offering a series of seven-day Baltic and Scandinavian sailings between Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Seabourn Ovation will also sail on longer 14-day voyages, visiting the majestic Norwegian fjords and British Isles. Select sailings will also include the Ventures by Seabourn program, which are optional for-charge expedition-style excursions featuring a team of experts, Zodiacs and kayaks with a focus on allowing guests to experience nature up close.

Viking Celebrates Float Out Of Sixth Ship
Viking today announced its sixth ship – the 930-guest Viking Jupiter – was "floated out," marking a major construction milestone and the first time that the new ship touched water. Scheduled for delivery in early 2019, the arrival of Viking Jupiter will officially make Viking the largest small ship ocean cruise line in the industry, only four years after launching its ocean business. Named in honor of the planet Jupiter, the ship will spend her maiden season sailing itineraries in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe.

"It is always a proud moment when a new ship touches water for the first time and is one step closer to welcoming guests onboard," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "As a Norwegian native, I am also particularly proud to announce today Sissel Kyrkjebø, my mother's favorite singer and a longtime Viking partner, will be honored as godmother to Viking Jupiter and will preside over the ship's naming ceremony in Oslo, Norway in June 2019."

The traditional float out ceremony took place at the Fincantieri's Ancona shipyard and is significant because it denotes a ship moving into its final stage of construction. Viking Jupiter's float out began at approximately 11:30 a.m. local time and in keeping with maritime tradition, a madrina – a special woman of honor – assisted with the ceremony, first welding commemorative coins under the ship mast. Norwegian singer Sissel Kyrkjebø, who is widely considered one of the world's top crossover sopranos and who has long been a cultural partner to Viking, served as Viking Jupiter's madrina. She welded a commemorative coin representing her birth year, as well as the birth years for Chairman Hagen (1943) and Finse (2012), Hagen's "grand dog." A special coin, dated 1911, was also welded to represent Ragnhild "Mamsen" Hagen, the mother of Chairman Hagen and the woman after whom the onboard Norwegian deli Mamsen's is named. Kyrkjebø then cut a cord to allow water to begin flowing into the ship's building dock. Following a two-day process that will set Viking Jupiter afloat, the ship will then be moved to a nearby outfitting dock for final construction and interior build-out.

Viking's ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, have 465 staterooms and host 930 guests. Classified by Cruise Critic as a "small ship," the all-veranda Viking Jupiter will join Viking's award-winning ocean fleet, which also includes Viking Star, Viking Sea, Viking Sky and Viking Sun. Viking will welcome its fifth ship, Viking Orion, to the fleet in June 2018. Ten additional ships are also planned for delivery starting in 2021, which could bring Viking's ocean fleet to 16 ships by 2027.

Carnival To Offer Three Longer Length Carnival Journeys Sailings In 2019, Including 24-Day Trans-Pacific Crossing
As Carnival Cruise Line continues to expand its itinerary offerings, the company today announced that it will offer three special longer length Carnival Journeys cruises in 2019.

The voyages include a unique 24-day trans-Pacific crossing aboard Carnival Splendor from Long Beach to Singapore, as well as two voyages aboard Carnival Miracle – a 13-day Panama Canal transit from Tampa to Long Beach and a 14-day Hawaii cruise round-trip from Long Beach.

The 24-day voyage is the longest single departure in Carnival Cruise Line's history and marks the first time that the line will visit Guam, Vietnam and Malaysia on a North American departure.

In addition to visiting some of the world's most beautiful destinations, guests sailing on Carnival Journeys cruises enjoy unique on-board activities during which they can sample local cuisine and enjoy entertainment and cultural opportunities within the various ports of call. Activities focusing on topics such as photography, cooking, arts and crafts and celestial navigation, along with a 1980s-themed "Throwback Sea Day," are also offered.

"We're delighted to expand upon our itinerary choices with these three exciting Carnival Journeys, including an unforgettable 24-day voyage trans-Pacific transit featuring our first-ever calls to spectacular ports in the Far East," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

The 3,012-passenger Carnival Splendor will operate an unprecedented 24-day trans-Pacific crossing that will depart Long Beach, Calif., on Oct. 5 and arrive in Singapore Oct. 30, 2019.

The voyage will feature extended port calls at Maui and Honolulu, Hawaii, before crossing the International Date Line, then visit Guam, and Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – the first time the line has visited these destinations on a ship departing from North America. On this fantastic seagoing adventure guests can visit ancient temples and other centuries-old landmarks and attractions and immerse themselves in Far East culture.

The 24-day voyage will also offer a traditional ceremony held when mariners cross the International Date Line which essentially adds an extra day to the cruise.

Carnival Miracle will operate a 13-day Carnival Journeys Panama Canal transit that will depart Tampa Sept. 29 and arrive in Long Beach Oct. 12, 2019, positioning the vessel for a series of seven- and 14-day cruises from that port.

The 13-day cruise will include an overnight stay in Cartagena, Colombia; prior to the Panama Canal transit followed by calls at Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, all home to magnificent architecture and unforgettable shopping, dining and cultural experiences.

Carnival Miracle will operate a 14-day Carnival Journeys cruise to Hawaii round-trip from Long Beach Oct. 19 to Nov. 2, 2019, featuring stops at four breathtaking destinations within the Aloha State – Maui, Honolulu, Kona and Hilo – along with a call at Ensenada, Mexico. On this cruise, guests can enjoy world-class beaches, savor local cuisine, explore the lush Hawaiian countryside and get an "up close and personal look" at colorful Polynesian culture.

The ship will also offer a series of seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach beginning Oct. 12, 2019. The week-long voyages visit Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, all home to gorgeous white-sand beaches, excellent snorkeling and a variety of water sports.

Cunard's Queen Mary 2 Kicks Off 2018 Transatlantic Season
On May 17, 2018 Cunard's flagship ocean liner Queen Mary 2 returns to her homeport of New York for her 2018 Transatlantic Season. Following another successful World Cruise season, QM2 will resume her regularly-scheduled service across the Atlantic, a route that began 178 years ago.

Now more than ever, Queen Mary 2's Transatlantic Crossing offers travelers a unique and precious escape from day to day life. Traveling leisurely by sea between New York and England, for seven nights in the North Atlantic, passengers have the time and luxury to dive deeper into their passions and crafts, to explore creative expression, and to hone personal and professional projects that range from journal writing and sketching, to polishing screenplays, musical scores, and more.

Celebrities, writers and artists who have made the most of QM2's Transatlantic Crossings include songwriter, music producer, and actor Ed Sheeran who sailed from New York to England and wrote parts of his latest hit album "Divide;" filmmaking director and screenwriter Wes Anderson, who wrote much of his movie "Isle of Dogs;" and legend Francis Ford Coppola who boarded the liner to put the final touches on his book "The Godfather Notebook."

"Over the past year, Cunard has seen an incredible demand for our product and experience from regions around the world, with double-digit growth within the North American market," said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president of Cunard North America. "The unique opportunity to step away from day to day life and feel inspired, enriched, and revitalized is one of the reasons passenger feedback continues to be among the best in the industry."

Not only are celebrities and artists fans of Cunard, but royalty has an affinity for QM2 as well. Christened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2004, Queen Mary 2 has hosted numerous royals on board and is excited to play an integral role in rising tourism to the UK this summer as travelers head to London to get a glimpse of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding site, tour St. Mary's Hospital, where the newest prince was just born, and enjoy the excitement that a new generation of royals ushers in.

Passengers find plenty of room to unwind and feel rejuvenated as they encounter new, surprising pursuits, people, and places. Guests can choose from a multitude of fascinating activities onboard Cunard's three Queens, from wine tasting and cocktail mixology, to painting, fencing, and ballroom dancing lessons, to exploring the largest library afloat, or pondering the mysteries of the universe in the only planetarium at sea.

Cunard's Insights program offers fascinating experts from various industries on every voyage, holding workshops and Q&As throughout the trip. This year Cunard is offering extraordinary special event Crossings throughout the season including collaborations with Ancestry.com, NY Fashion Week, and International Space Week.

QM2 passengers are also thrilled at the opportunity to travel with their four-legged companions onboard the Queen Mary 2, the only ship with kennels on board for dogs and cats.

For those eager to enjoy the elusive luxury of time, Queen Mary 2 will embark on 24 Transatlantic Crossings from May through December this year.

Azamara Unveils 2020 Itineraries
Azamara Club Cruises' today announced their 2020 itineraries. In 2020, guests will explore deeper into newly added destinations including South Africa, French Polynesia and Hawaii. With a total of 92 individual cruises across the three ships, Azamara will offer 41 maiden ports, 303 late night stays, 170 overnight stays and 40 country-intensive voyages, where guests can explore numerous ports within one country and stay late or overnight in most cities.

Azamara's carefully crafted 2020 itineraries emphasize spending more time in port, enabling travelers to explore beyond the initial layers of a city and fully immerse themselves in the destination. In addition, Azamara will also unveil new Land and Sea packages hosted by Micato Safaris, a luxury safari outfitter that will further enhance the brand's immersive land products.

"Our guests spoke and we listened; the addition of our third ship, the Azamara Pursuit, has allowed us to expand our footprint across all seven continents, bringing guests to new destinations, new experiences, and new opportunities," said Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. "In 2020, Azamara will offer a total of 473 late night and overnight stays, a 12% percent increase from 2019, which will allow us to provide our guests with the opportunity to experience night touring at some of the most compelling destinations."

South Africa/African Continent and South Pacific Itineraries

Azamara will be expanding its global coverage by calling in South Africa and the African Continent for the first time. Each voyage will offer an exceptional variety of immersive land programs that take travelers to the heart of Zulu culture, South Africa's most famous wine region, and beyond.

The new South Africa itineraries will coincide with pre-and post-cruise packages from Micato Safaris. Azamara and Micato both embody a similar love of travel, exploration and value creating one-of-a-kind experiences for travelers. Highlights include 30 departures of the two following tours:

• Five-Night Kruger to Cape: A Wildlife & Culinary Safari (offered pre-or post-Azamara voyage) Before embarking on a voyage with Azamara, meet the Micato team in Johannesburg for an exploration from Kruger to Cape Town with stops along the way at a notable game reserve and a visit to the Western Cape, known for its world class wines and top-quality restaurants; an experience that will delight the senses.

• Five-Night Wild Wonders of the World - Victoria Falls & Botswana Safari (offered pre-or post-Azamara Voyage): Travel through Zimbabwe to Botswana to experience one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls. This expedition also includes a dawn game drive through Botswana's Chobe Game Reserve and an optional helicopter tour of the falls.

In addition to the extensions by Micato Safaris, Azamara continues to expand its extensive Destination Immersion programing (guests can step on land as an insider, and travel deeper, beyond the initial layers of a city across Africa by adding a diverse selection of shore excursions including:

• Cruise Global, Stay Local - Kenya: On this overnight excursion, travelers will fly past Mount Kilimanjaro – the highest mountain in Africa – and over the Great Rift Valley to Kenya's renowned game reserve, Masai Mara, where they will spend the night at the Neptune Mara Rianta Luxury Camp, located along the Mara River. The excursion includes two game viewing drives in search of elephant, lions, rhinos, cheetahs, giraffes and more.

• Cruise Global, Meet Local – South Africa: On a day trip to Shakaland – a living monument of Zulu culture – travelers will be met by a Zulu guide who will act as an interpreter as he leads them through the village. Guests will learn how to make a sword and shield as well as build a traditional Zulu "beehive" grass hut.

• Cruise Global, Taste Local – South Africa: Departing from Cape Town, the excursion will take travelers to the Paarl region – one of South Africa's most famous wine-producing areas – for a formal vino tasting at a wine estate. Following, guests will pay a visit to Haute Cabrière – founded in 1694 and situated on opposite ends of the breathtaking Franschoek – where visitors will get to experience a deep passion for wine as well as a pairing comprised of two farms.

The 2020 itineraries will also feature an 18-night maiden voyage to French Polynesia and Hawaii, visiting some of the most unique Hawaiian Islands (Maui, Oahu and Hilo). During this voyage guests can shop for bright Polynesian silk wrap or shop for items with Tahitian black pearls, an organic gem only found in that region and formed from the black lip oyster. Some of the land experiences guests can participate in include:

• Cruise Global, Eco Local – French Polynesia: Join a marine biologist in this ecotourism and research project on wild, free-ranging dolphins. Learn about the geology of French Polynesia while viewing the dramatic beauty of Moorea from the water. Spinner dolphins, rough-tooth dolphins and pilot whales are seen around Moorea, while an excellent commentary provides details on the remarkable life and society of these wonderful mammals.

• Cruise Global, Adventure Local - Hawaii: Embark on an underwater exploration of Maui onboard a high-tech passenger submarine. The expedition will pass the "Brig Carthaginian," a sunken ship built in the 1920s that now acts as an artificial reef off of the coast of Maui's Puamana Beach Park.

Specialty Voyages

In addition to adding new destinations and immersive land experiences to its offerings, Azamara's 2020 itineraries will feature an assortment of specialty voyages including the following:

• Nearly half of Azamara's 2020 itineraries will include country-intensive voyages, giving travelers the opportunity to connect to the authentic heart of local life and culture. The new country intensive sailings include Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, and South Africa.

• For the first time, Azamara's three sister ships will meet on October 8, 2020 in Koper, Slovenia, where the cruise line will host a grand AzAmazing Evening in port for all guests on all three ships, and then sail together to Venice.

• Azamara's holiday and Christmas sailings provide the opportunity to take part in celebrations around the world including ringing in the New Year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Cape Town, South Africa.

• On February 20, 2020, the Azamara Quest will be embarking on the brand's second World Journey from Cape Town to Southampton.

• The Triple Tour is a 42-night voyage starting May 26, 2020 from Athens to Copenhagen, allowing guests to sail on all three ships and get an in-depth experience with crew members across the entire fleet, all on one epic voyage. More details on the Triple Tour will be available in early Summer of 2018.

New Stateroom Category:

Starting in 2020, Azamara will offer guests a more inclusive stateroom category called Veranda Plus. The new accommodation will have the same dimensions and features as a regular Veranda stateroom, for a slightly higher cost, but include additional benefits such as: internet minutes, one night of specialty dining, priority embarkation and more. All of these amenities have been built in price, which will provide a value for guests, versus buying individually.

Princess and the Original Cast of "The Love Boat" Receive Hollywood Walk of Fame Honorary Star Plaque
Princess Cruises and the original cast of the "The Love Boat" were presented a Hollywood Walk of Fame honorary star plaque today in recognition of their contributions to the history of television and support for the preservation of the Walk of Fame. Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Jill Whelan (Vicki), Ted Lange (Isaac), Bernie Kopell (Doc), Lauren Tewes (Julie) and Fred Grandy (Gopher) were joined by Leron Gubler, CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Donelle Dadigan, co-chair of the Hollywood Historic Trust, the superintendent of the world-famous walk and Jan Swartz, President of Princess Cruises. The honorary star plaque is located on Hollywood Boulevard in front of the main entrance to the Dolby Theater.

"The Love Boat" premiered just over 40 years ago (May 1977), set aboard a cruise ship, featuring stories of romance, hijinks and adventure on the high seas that involved characters portrayed by Hollywood's biggest stars of the day. After the pilot show, "The Love Boat" show went on to enjoy phenomenal success, continuing for 10 seasons until 1987 as one of the highest-rated, prime-time television shows in the country. Princess Cruises soon became a household name as the primary setting and co-star of the popular series, and continues to be known as the "Love Boat" cruise line today. Pacific Princess and Island Princess were the two original ships but as the show grew in popularity "The Love Boat" was filmed aboard many Princess ships at exotic destinations around the globe.

"Today marks another extraordinary day in the history of Princess Cruises. We are honored to be recognized, along with the original cast of the 'Love Boat,' as Friends of the Walk of Fame in support of the preservation of this iconic attraction that draws nearly 10 million visitors each year," remarked Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "The 'Love Boat' opened the hearts and minds of millions of television viewers to the adventures of cruise travel by way of the exotic destination our ships visited on the show. Today, our guests continue to create lasting memories and explore the world on our modern, fleet of 17 premium cruise ships."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 64.82 + 3.00%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 107.13 + 1.97%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.59 + 4.61%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 51.42 + 2.21%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
This week we have another visual Cruise Trivia Question. The picture below was featured in a cruise brochure from the 1960's. Name the ship.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Name the former liners that were sold to the Iranian government for use as accommodation ships in the 1970's?

Answer - These liners were the MICHELANGELO and RAFFAELLO of ITALIA S.p.A. They were used after the revolution as marine "hotels" for the crew of the marine of Iran. During the war against Iraq the RAFFAELLO was destroied by bombs. The MICHELANGELO was towed to the breakers because she had been in too bad condition.
courtesy of Gerd W|sthoff


Cruise News - May 7, 2018

Ruptured Water Line Floods Hallway On Carnival Dream
A ruptured water line caused flooding of a hallway on board Carnival Dream last Thursday during a 7-day Caribbean cruise out of New Orleans. Carnival said that the cruise continued uninterrupted after the water line break and that it returned to its homeport of New Orleans as scheduled on Sunday.

In a statement, Carnival said that the water line break had no effect on the safe operation of the ship and that the safety and security of its guests and crew is a top priority.

In the statement, the cruise line noted that the water line break occurred at 6:00 p.m. and within six hours, the crew had replaced hall and stateroom carpeting, dried out other sections of carpeting that were damp but did not need to be replaced, and restored the 50 staterooms so that all guests could sleep in their beds that evening. There were a handful of guests that chose to sleep elsewhere that first night and we moved mattresses to the spa for them.

Carnival said that it provided a full refund and a future cruise credit as a goodwill gesture to the 100 passengers affected. The company said that it offered to fly the impacted guests home at their expense if they wanted to disembark early and only two of the nearly 100 guests that received the offer chose to do so. Most of the guests on board were not even aware of the incident until the last 24 hours as word circulated and our passengers heard from friends and family who saw media reports.

Norwegian Bliss Makes Her U.S. Debut In New York City
Norwegian Cruise Line debuted the highly-anticipated Norwegian Bliss, the sixteenth ship of the young and modern fleet, in New York City on Thursday, May 3. Amidst a sea of excitement and celebration, her arrival into the U.S. marks the beginning of a month-long inaugural celebration with her next stops in Miami, Los Angeles and lastly Seattle, where she will officially be christened on May 30.

Norwegian Bliss kicked off her two-day inaugural preview in New York City with brand partners, key media and industry representatives on Friday, May 4. Among the guests were Norwegian Bliss' Godfather, Elvis Duran and the cast from the Z100 morning show who broadcasted live from the ship enlightening guests on all the experiences the ship has to offer. Throughout the day, guests were able to explore the ship, sample the cruise line's newest culinary innovations, and experience all the amenities, including the longest go-kart race track at sea, the newly designed water slides, and an open-air laser tag arena. Additionally, Elvis Duran brought on indie-pop band, AJR, to give a special performance on board Norwegian Bliss. Later in the day, president and chief executive officer, Andy Stuart, presented Elvis Duran with a six-foot long model of Norwegian Bliss.

On the evening of May 4, following the Norwegian Cruise Line original musical theater show - ¡HAVANA! - Grammy-award winning singer, Albita, performed an exclusive show for guests in the Bliss Theater. One deck below, guests were kicking up their boots and enjoying country tunes by Camille Rae and her band at Q, the new Texas Smokehouse Barbecue restaurant on Norwegian Bliss.

Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio, two of the original members of The Four Seasons, which the Tony award-winning musical Jersey Boys is based on, made a special appearance at an intimate cocktail reception in the expansive Horizon Lounge in The Haven, home to the most luxurious, well-appointed and spacious accommodations, complete with a private lounge, courtyard and observation area. Following the event, they enjoyed the Norwegian Bliss premier of Jersey Boys in Bliss Theater.

"Norwegian has been committed to providing our guests with the finest entertainment at sea and we have elevated this commitment by introducing Jersey Boys and ¡HAVANA! on board Norwegian Bliss," said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. "It has been such an honor to have icons in the music and theater world partner with and join us on this inaugural tour."

Norwegian Bliss departed the Big Apple yesterday morning and is cruising down to Miami for her next stop on her inaugural U.S. tour. During her preview cruise out of PortMiami, May 8 to 10, special guests will include the hull artist, Wyland, Godfather, Elvis Duran and members of The Morning Show, and celebrity car guru and host of Discovery Channel's The Auto Firm, Alex Vega, who outfitted two of the Norwegian Bliss go-carts for the largest race track at sea.

Following her stop in Miami she will cruise to Los Angeles, California, and be the largest cruise ship to cross through the Panama Canal. Preview events will take place from May 25 to 27, before making her voyage to Seattle, Washington arriving on May 30 for her official christening ceremony and then embarking on a three-day exhibition cruise.

Beginning June 2, Norwegian Bliss will cruise seven-day voyages to Alaska from Seattle with featured calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia. She will then cruise select voyages to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles and for her fall/winter season, she will sail to the Eastern Caribbean from Miami. In 2019, she will return to New York City and sail seven-day voyages to the Bahamas and Florida, the Southern and Western Caribbean.

Carnival Legend To Reposition To Tampa In 2019
Carnival Cruise Line has announced that the 2,124-passenger Carnival Legend will reposition to Port Tampa Bay in October 2019, providing consumers with an exciting seagoing vacation choice in that market.

Carnival Legend is undergoing an extensive two-week-long dry dock that is taking place in Portland, Ore. and is adding a variety of popular food and beverage concepts. These include Guy’s Burger Joint, developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar, and the Mexican-themed BlueIguana Cantina. Enhancements to Camp Ocean, a marine-themed kids play area, and Circle “C” catering to 12- to 14-year-olds, as well as the ship’s retail shopping outlets, are also being incorporated.

Following the dry dock, Carnival Legend will operate a summer 2018 schedule of seven-day Alaska cruises from Seattle, then reposition to Australia with a series of departures from Sydney and Melbourne in the fall and winter. In summer 2019 she will return to Seattle for another series of seven-day Alaska cruises before moving to Tampa in the fall of 2019.

Prior to its Tampa deployment, Carnival Legend will also operate a series of longer-length Carnival Journeys voyages in 2019, including a nine-day Alaska cruise from Vancouver, a 16-day Hawaii voyage from Vancouver and 15-day Panama Canal transit that begins in Los Angeles and ends in Tampa, positioning the vessel for its new schedule from that port.

In addition to visiting some of the world’s most beautiful destinations, guests sailing on Carnival Journeys cruises enjoy unique on-board activities during which they can sample local cuisine and enjoy entertainment and cultural opportunities within the various ports of call. Activities focusing on topics such as photography, cooking, arts and crafts and celestial navigation, along with a 1980s-themed “Throwback Sea Day,” are also offered.

“At Carnival, we encourage our guests to Choose Fun and with these voyages aboard the newly refurbished Carnival Legend we’re providing our guests with a broad spectrum of exciting cruise options featuring sought-after destinations and unique experiences ashore,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

Following its 2019 Alaska season, Carnival Legend will operate a 15-day Panama Canal cruise that will begin in Los Angeles Oct. 12 and end in Tampa Oct. 27, 2019, positioning the vessel to assume week-long Caribbean sailings currently operated by Carnival Miracle which will be positioned to another homeport to be announced shortly. The 15-day Panama Canal cruise will feature Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Quetzal (Guatemala), Puntarenas (Costa Rica), before transiting the Panama Canal followed by stops at Cartagena and Santa Marta (Colombia) and Grand Cayman.

Carnival Legend’s seven-day schedule from Tampa kicks off Oct. 27, 2019 and includes visits to Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Mahogany Bay and Belize or Costa Maya. On Jan. 25, 2020, the ship will also offer a special eight-day voyage that includes a partial transit of the Panama Canal as well as port calls at Limon and Grand Cayman.

Carnival Legend will also operate a round-trip 14-day Panama Canal cruise from Tampa Dec. 1-15, 2019. The voyage will feature stops at Cozumel and Limon (Costa Rica) before transiting the Panama Canal, then visit Cartagena, Aruba, Curacao and Grand Cayman.

Carnival Legend will operate a unique nine-day Alaska cruise round-trip from Vancouver Sept. 17-26, 2019, featuring a day-long call at Icy Strait Point, an unspoiled wilderness area offering some of the best whale and bear watching in the state and the world’s longest zip-line, followed by an extended sail of Glacier Bay and the popular Alaskan ports of Sitka, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan.

The ship will also operate a 16-day Hawaii voyage departing Vancouver Sept. 26 and arriving in Los Angeles Oct. 12, 2019. The voyage includes extended visits to four of the Aloha State’s most popular destinations, including Hilo, Maui, Kona, Kauai, and Honolulu, with opportunities for guests to get an “up close and personal” look at one of the world’s most popular vacation destinations.

Norwegian Sun Sails On Inaugural Voyage From Port Canaveral to Cuba
The growth of cruising from Port Canaveral hit another milestone as the Norwegian Sun sailed out of the Port on its inaugural voyage to Havana, Cuba today. Fresh out of dry dock enhancement, Norwegian Sun returned to Port Canaveral to begin her homeport Summer 2018 sailing season. The Norwegian Sun called Port Canaveral home for two years, from 2010 to 2012. The ship will be berthed at the Port's recently remodeled Cruise Terminal 10, in which the Port invested more than $35 million in renovations. The new Norwegian Cruise Line sailing options -- four-night itinerary to Havana, Cuba and Key West a three-night itinerary to the Bahamas --marks the first time a homeported cruise ship has sailed from Port Canaveral to Cuba.

“We are excited to welcome back Norwegian Sun to Port Canaveral for these new voyages to Havana, Cuba,” said Port CEO Captain John Murray. “We’re proud of our partnership with Norwegian Cruise Lines and pleased to be hosting these new sailing opportunities for cruise guests this summer season.”

“Port Canaveral was the ideal location to offer our guests a value-rich on board experience and exciting action-packed ports-of-call, including an overnight call in Havana, Cuba,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line.

Aboard the Norwegian Sun, Captain Teo Grbic was presented with a plaque welcoming the ship’s return to Port Canaveral. The plaque was presented by Capt. John Murray and Canaveral Port Authority Chairman Wayne Justice.

“We are honored that Norwegian Cruise Line has selected Port Canaveral to offer cruises to Havana, Cuba and excited for the traveling community that this new destination is now available,” said Canaveral Port Authority Chairman Wayne Justice. “Today’s embarkation to Cuba validates the Port’s ongoing investments in state-of-the-art facilities and continuous improvement in cruise operations, earning the confidence of some of the world’s most successful cruise brands.”

Norwegian Sun’s four-day cruise to Cuba will depart Port Canaveral each Monday and features a call on Key West and an overnight stay in Havana, returning to Port Canaveral each Friday. In Havana, Norwegian Sun will transport guests to Havana Harbor, located in the heart of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage site. NCL will offer guests the opportunity to experience the wonderful culture and history of Cuba with OFAC (U.S.Treasury Office of Foreign Assets)-compliant shore excursions.

Norwegian Sun’s three-day cruise to the Bahamas departs Port Canaveral each Friday and features calls in Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island beach with recently enhanced food and beverage outlets, cabanas and underwater snorkeling.

The 78,309 gross-ton ship, built in 2001, recently underwent an extensive dry-dock refurbishment. The newly freshened 1,936 passenger cruise vessel offers 14 dining options, bars and lounges, onboard shopping, spa and entertainment. All guests sailing aboard the Norwegian Sun's Cuba or Bahamas cruises from Port Canaveral will enjoy unlimited complimentary beverages included in their cruise fare as a part of the ship's all-inclusive program.

Carnival Opens Helix Cruise Center At Port Of Barcelona
Carnival Corporation today officially opened its second cruise terminal at the Port of Barcelona with an inauguration ceremony attended by government, business and community representatives. The ceremony included Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation; Julio Gómez-Pomar Rodríguez, secretary of state for infrastructures, transport and housing for the government of Spain; Enric Millo, government delegate in Catalonia; Ricard Font, secretary of infrastructure and mobility for the government of Catalonia; Agustí Colom, councilor of tourism, commerce and markets for the Barcelona City Council; Jose Llorca, chairman of Puertos del Estado; and Sixte Cambra, president of the Port of Barcelona.

During the ceremony, the company revealed that Helix cruise center will be the name of its new 12,500 square meter state-of-the-art terminal. At over 46 million euros, the Helix terminal and the company's existing terminal at the port represent Carnival Corporation's largest combined terminal investment in Europe.

Designed by Catalan architecture firm Batlle i Roig Arquitectura, the company's newest cruise terminal reflects modern and graceful architectural style with straight lines, creating a contemporary and comfortable guest environment designed to enhance the embarkation and disembarkation process for cruise guests.

Also making its debut shortly will be the port's first public parking facility, providing guests embarking on cruises with access to nearly 300 parking spaces. In addition, the Helix terminal will accommodate Carnival Corporation's new class of next-generation "green" cruise ships that will be fully operated by liquefied natural gas (LNG), the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel.

"After years of working closely with our extraordinary partners in Barcelona, including the port, its support network of local businesses and the city, we are absolutely thrilled to introduce our world-class Helix cruise center to welcome guests from around the world to Europe's best-loved cruise port and to Barcelona, one of the world's greatest cities and regions," said Giora Israel, senior vice president of global ports and destination development for Carnival Corporation. "As the world's largest cruise company with more than 100 ships that sail to over 700 destinations across the globe, our goal is to provide our guests with extraordinary vacations, and we are confident that our new terminal will help us enhance the overall experience for our guests. The terminal stands as a tribute to the remarkable appeal of Barcelona and the entire country as one of the world's most beautiful, vibrant and compelling destinations. We are proud of the work that has been accomplished together with the port, city, government, business and community. We now look forward to working with the port of Barcelona and its community partners to make the cruise terminal a highly efficient and customer-friendly operation."

"We have a long history of working with Carnival Corporation and its cruise line brands," said Cambra, president of Port of Barcelona. "We appreciate their strong commitment to our great port, city and region, and we are excited about the new Helix cruise center, which is already earning rave reviews as one of the world's most spectacular cruise terminals. We appreciated the opportunity to work closely with Carnival Corporation. In every aspect, and particularly in its innovative and sustainable approach, this is a world-class cruise terminal that further enhances our reputation as one of the best ports in the world."

"In a city and region known for its inspiring and beautiful architecture, it is exciting to have Carnival Corporation's stunning Helix cruise center grace the Port of Barcelona as our newest landmark," said Font, secretary of infrastructure and mobility for the government of Catalonia. "We appreciate Carnival Corporation having such a positive impact on our local economy and employment and for making such a significant investment in our region – the company's commitment underscores our shared enthusiasm that Barcelona will always be one of the top destinations in the world."

"Barcelona needs operators strongly committed to its visitors, but also to the city," said Colom, councilor of tourism, commerce and markets for the Barcelona City Council. "We need operators with whom we can work side by side to improve the sustainability and the social return that tourist activity generates in the city, reducing to the maximum its externalities. We are already collaborating with the port and the Cruise Line Industry Association (CLIA) in this direction, and it will be essential to also have the active involvement of important cruise line operators, such as Carnival Corporation, who have clearly opted for Barcelona, to have a port for the city, more straightforward, open and much more citizen."

The Helix cruise center, located on the port's Adossat wharf, is a tribute to extraordinary local expertise, talent and vision, as Carnival Corporation teamed with local officials and companies to design and build one of the world's most spectacular and functional cruise terminals.

Eight brands from Carnival Corporation – AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn and P&O Cruises (UK) – visit Barcelona throughout the year, with six of those eight brands operating full or partial homeporting in Barcelona in 2018. Carnival Corporation is expecting to accommodate over one million passenger movements at the port in 2018, with 289 calls by 38 different ships.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 62.93 - 0.21%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 105.06 - 2.89%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.52 + 5.56%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 50.31 - 5.91%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Name the former liners that were sold to the Iranian government for use as accommodation ships in the 1970's?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which former White Star liner retained her original White Star name (ending in -ic) and funnel colors well after the two lines merged in 1934 until she was retired in late 1960?

Answer - The ship you speak of was the M/V Britannic, third White Star liner to bear that name and sister to the Georgic. Noted for their "low profile", these ships were sleek and popular.
courtesy of Shawn Ladd, Chicago, IL


Cruise News - April 30, 2018

Seabourn Takes Delivery Of Seabourn Ovation
Seabourn took delivery of its newest ship, Seabourn Ovation, today during an official handover ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy. Seabourn Ovation is the fifth ship in the line's award-winning fleet and the newest ship in the industry.

"We are delighted to take delivery of Seabourn Ovation, offering yet another reason for luxury travelers around the world to choose us for their next holiday," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "It has been an incredible journey to see the ship come to life, and the Fincantieri team has done a fantastic job in the construction of the ship. The combination of Adam Tihany's design vision and Fincantieri's fine craftsmanship have resulted in yet another stunning creation. We are very proud to welcome her to the Seabourn family."

Said Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri: "It has been a great honor for all of us at Fincantieri to work with the Seabourn and Carnival Corporation teams to bring to life such a beautiful ship that in many ways is a true work of art. There was an extraordinary level of luxury elements and complexity involved in the construction of Seabourn Ovation, and as always our team of world-class ship builders rose to the occasion. It is with much pride that we hand over a ship that sets the new standard in ultra-luxury cruising, and it is exciting that Seabourn guests from around the world will soon be enjoying wonderful cruise holidays on this magnificent luxury vessel."

Seabourn Ovation will expand and build on the line's award-winning and highly acclaimed Odyssey-class ships, which revolutionized ultra-luxury cruising with enhanced accommodations and innovative amenities when they were introduced between 2009 and 2011. A sister ship to Seabourn Encore, Seabourn Ovation features 300 all-oceanfront suites and maintain the line's high ratio of space per guest, enabling highly personalized service.

Seabourn Ovation was fashioned by notable hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany with contemporary interiors, modern design elements, and innovations consistent with Seabourn's reputation for understated elegance. Tihany's vision has delivered the world's finest ultra-luxury resort that happens to traverse the oceans of the world. The new ship will round out the current planned expansion of the line's award-winning and highly acclaimed newest and most consistent fleet in the ultra-luxury segment.

The all-suite ship will offer a number of desirable in-suite amenities to provide guests with a "home away from home" onboard experience. In every luxurious suite will be a private veranda, providing sweeping oceanfront views and spacious enough for private al fresco dining. Featuring striking design and sophisticated décor, each suite will include a comfortable living area with sofa seating and a desk/dining table; elegant bedding; a walk-in closet; in-suite entertainment options with a wide selection of movies, music, broadcast television and radio channels; and a superbly-appointed marble bathroom with separate bath and shower and luxury bath products, including the exclusive Seabourn Signature Scents by Molton Brown. A personal bar and refrigerator will be stocked according to guest preferences, coordinated before arrival.

Guests who sail on Seabourn Ovation will also find a number of innovative offerings and programs, including partnerships with a select group of companies and individuals whose dedication to superior quality, exceptional service and consistent customer satisfaction matches Seabourn. These programs include 'An Evening with Tim Rice', the evening entertainment experience created exclusively for the line in association with Belinda King Creative Productions; Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil, offering guests a holistic spa and wellness experience that integrates physical, social, environmental and spiritual well-being; and The Grill by Thomas Keller, reminiscent of the classic American restaurant from the 50's and 60's. Exclusive to Seabourn, The Grill is a unique culinary concept for Chef Keller, focusing on updated versions of iconic dishes. Guests will be treated to table-side preparations of Caesar salad and ice cream sundaes, as well as a range of other favorites like premium steaks, whole roasted chicken, and Lobster Thermidor, presented à la carte.

Seabourn Ovation will begin her maiden season with an 11-day inaugural voyage departing May 5, 2018, from Venice, Italy, to Barcelona, Spain. The ship's naming ceremony will take place on Friday, May 11, in the beautiful baroque harbour of Valletta, Malta. One of the world's highly-acclaimed actresses and singers, Elaine Paige, will serve as godmother and will name the ship during a spectacular ceremony that will light up the dramatic UNESCO World Heritage site and the 2018 European Capital of Culture.

Royal Caribbean Reports Record First Quarter Earnings
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) today reported record first quarter results and increased its outlook for the full year. The company reported first quarter US GAAP earnings of $1.02 per share and Adjusted earnings of $1.09 per share beating guidance due to better revenue. Full year Adjusted earnings guidance is increased by $0.15 to a range of $8.70 to $8.90 per share.

"This year is proving to be another strong year with all our brands firing on all cylinders," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO. "The market continues to support our growth as our people keep focused on delivering our targets and goals. The strength of this market plus our new ships in 2018 (Symphony of the Seas, Azamara Pursuit, Mein Schiff 1 and Celebrity Edge), position us nicely for 2019 as well."

FIRST QUARTER 2018

US GAAP Net Income for the first quarter of 2018 was $218.7 million or $1.02 per share and Adjusted Net Income was $232.8 million or $1.09 per share. Last year, US GAAP and Adjusted Net Income were $214.7 million or $0.99 per share. The improvement over last year and over previous guidance was mainly driven by better than expected revenue from our global brands and our joint ventures.

Gross Yields were up 3.1% and Net Yields were up 4.9% in Constant-Currency. Demand for our core products came in as expected, while demand for experiential related onboard products and activities was better than anticipated. Net Onboard revenue yields grew by 6.3% in Constant-Currency.

Gross Cruise Costs per APCD increased 5.0% in Constant-Currency. Net Cruise Costs ("NCC") excluding Fuel per APCD were up 11.2% in Constant-Currency, higher than guidance, driven by timing.

Bunker pricing net of hedging for the first quarter was $500.2 per metric ton and consumption was 320.6 metric tons.

"We are delighted to report another record breaking quarter and to be driving towards record earnings for the year, above our initial guidance," said Jason T. Liberty, executive vice president and CFO. "Revenues continue to excel and expenses, even including some new demand generating initiatives, continue to be carefully controlled."

During this quarter Royal Cariibbean said that it completed the $500 million share repurchase program authorized a year ago.

FULL YEAR 2018

Royal Cariibbean said that it has increased its forecast of full year Adjusted EPS to a range of $8.70 to $8.90 per share, $0.15 above the previous guidance.

The company's 2018 booked position is better than last year's record high and ahead in both volume and rate. All core products are generally in line with the company's previous expectations.

Royal Cariibbean said that it expects a Net Yield increase in the range of 2.0% to 3.75% in Constant-Currency and approximately 4.0% As-Reported for the full year.

NCC excluding Fuel are expected to be up approximately 2.5% in Constant-Currency and up 3.0% to 3.5% As-Reported. This revised cost guidance reflects some shifts related to our joint ventures that will be shown below the operating profit line versus above line. The updated guidance also reflects increased investments in demand generating activities.

Taking into account current fuel pricing, interest and currency exchange rates, and the factors detailed above, Royal Cariibbean said that it estimates 2018 Adjusted EPS will be in the range of $8.70 to $8.90 per share.

SECOND QUARTER 2018

An unusually strong market in 2017 generated an unusually strong Net Yield increase of 11.5% during the second quarter of 2017. That, plus the timing of the Easter vacation period make for a tough year-over-year comparable. Nevertheless Royal Cariibbean said that it expects Constant-Currency Net Yields to be up in the range of 1.5% to 2.0% for the second quarter of 2018.

NCC Excluding Fuel are expected to be up approximately 5.0% in Constant-Currency. The elevated cost comparable for the quarter is the result of additional drydock days and further investments in the product and demand generating activities.

Based on current fuel pricing, interest and currency exchange rates, and the factors detailed above, Royal Cariibbean said that it expects second quarter Adjusted EPS to be $1.85 to $1.90 per share.

Norwegian Cruise Line Breaks Ground On New Terminal At PortMiami
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., which operates Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, today celebrated the groundbreaking of the new and dedicated Norwegian Cruise Line terminal at PortMiami. The Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners approved the project on April 10, 2018, with construction beginning May 1.

Present at the ceremony, which took place at PortMiami’s Terminal B, were Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line, Howard Sherman, executive vice president of onboard revenue and destination services, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, Miami-Dade County commissioner Rebeca Sosa, PortMiami director and chief executive officer Juan Kuryla, Florida State Representative Cynthia Stafford and leading executives from the architecture and construction firms on record, Bermello Ajamil & Partners and the NV2A-Haskell joint venture. The state-of-the-art terminal is scheduled for completion by the fall of 2019, as Norwegian Encore, the newest ship of the Breakaway Plus class, debuts in Miami with seasonal cruises to the Caribbean.

“This iconic terminal represents our continued partnership with Miami-Dade County, our commitment to excellence and Miami as a world capital,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.. “As a global cruise company we’re transforming and elevating guest experiences through design and innovation on our ships, and this new terminal at PortMiami is the next step in that journey. We are honored to be here today alongside the team dedicated to making this dream a reality.”

At nearly 166,500 square feet, the Norwegian terminal will accommodate ships of up to 5,000 passengers and will feature state-of-the-art technology to support faster and more efficient embarkation and disembarkation, as well as expedited security screening and luggage check-in. A dedicated lounge and service area will offer a warm and welcoming arrival for guests, and a new parking garage and valet parking area with direct access to the terminal will streamline the entire arrival and departure process for more efficiency.

“As Miami continues to develop as a global tourist destination, we view investing in PortMiami's infrastructure as imperative to sustainable growth," said Mayor Gimenez. "The construction of a new cruise terminal with the capacity to berth an additional 5,000-passenger cruise ship allows for the creation of thousands of jobs and increased opportunities for our community. We are eager to witness the incredible beauty the terminal will bring to our city skyline and grateful for Norwegian Cruise Line's steadfast partnership.”

Aside from improved functionality and efficiency, the terminal, which is being constructed to LEED-Silver standards, is set to be a modern architectural masterpiece and the new “pearl” of Miami’s stunning skyline. Drawing inspiration from the Fibonacci nautilus, a natural example of the golden ratio of perfection, the spiraled and multi-level façade, transcendental and glass-encased building offers stunning ocean views that embody the freedom and flexibility of the Norwegian cruising experience.

“We are incredibly honored to be working with Norwegian and PortMiami on this innovative project,” said Luis Ajamil, president and chief executive officer of Bermello Ajamil & Partners. “Having the opportunity to design a building that is sure to become an iconic Miami destination is very exciting, and we look forward to establishing the new standard for passenger comfort and experience.”

“NV2A and Haskell share a passion for construction and a commitment to excellence. As builders, we play an integral role and have great responsibility to the development and growth of the community,” said Agustin Arellano Sr., chairman of NV2A Group and board member of the NV2A-Haskell joint venture. “It is an honor and privilege to be part of a project that will have an everlasting impact on the city. We look forward to delivering this incredible new terminal for Norwegian Cruise Line, PortMiami and Miami-Dade County.”

Viking Announces Ultimate World Cruise
Viking today announced its most comprehensive itinerary to date with the new Ultimate World Cruise, which will span 245 days, six continents, 59 countries and 113 ports, with 22 port overnights and a full circumnavigation of the globe – making it the longest-ever continuous world cruise itinerary.

Departing from London on August 31, 2019 on Viking Sun, this grand eight-month journey will mark Viking's third voyage around the globe and will nearly double the length of the company's previous World Cruise itineraries. Within the 245-day Ultimate World Cruise itinerary, Viking will also offer guests an option to sail one of two shorter segments during the cruise. Guest can choose between Viking World Treasures, a 127-day sailing from London to Los Angeles that visits 33 countries and 61 ports, or Viking World Wonders, a 119-day journey from Los Angeles to London that visits 29 countries and 55 ports. As with all Viking itineraries, guests receive a complimentary shore excursion in each port and free unlimited Wi-Fi; World Cruise guests also receive Business Class airfare and all gratuities and service fees, along with an extensive list of added-value included features in their cruise fare.

"For more than 20 years we have been offering guests the most culturally immersive journeys available in the industry and we are pleased to announce the most extensive itinerary in our history," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "Our World Cruises offer guests the rare opportunity to unpack once and explore dozens of the best destinations on earth – at a value that is unprecedented in the travel industry."

Viking's Ultimate World Cruise visits dozens of legendary cities, charming ports and idyllic islands in one epic journey. Included excursions in every port allow guests to immerse themselves in the world's cultures, and The Viking Way of exploration offers additional, optional excursions that provide unmatched insight into Local Life, Working World and offer Privileged Access visits to cultural institutions. Overnight stays in 22 cities allow guests to delve deeper into destinations; and Viking's Culture Curriculum offers additional enrichment on board with regional entertainment and lectures, as well as learning opportunities as part of the Viking Resident program. Full details on the Ultimate World Cruise can be found on Viking's website here; highlights include:

• Greenwich: London at Your Door – Dock in the historic Royal Borough of Greenwich, London, which allows guests easy access to the regal capital's iconic sights, including the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace.

• Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Peak of Brazilian Culture – One of the 22 overnight stays on this itinerary occurs in the historic city of Rio de Janeiro, where guests can witness the larger-than-life Christ the Redeemer statue or relax on the scenic Copacabana and Ipanema beaches of this coastal metropolis.

• Ushuaia, Argentina: "End of the World" – Commonly referred to as the "End of the World," guests will visit Ushuaia, a city perched on a steep hill on the southernmost tip of South America, and explore its lush scenery through excursions to the nearby Escondido and Fagnano Lakes or the Tierra del Fuego National Park, which was first inhabited by humans 10,000 years ago.

• Hobart, Tasmania: An Island of History and Wilderness — The capitol of Australia's island state of Tasmania, Hobart offers guests the chance to learn about its aborigine history and explore its unique wilderness area, including Mt. Wellington, which the city is nestled under.

• Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Vibrant Saigon – This eclectic city, home to a mix of modern skyscrapers, French colonial buildings and ornate palaces, offers a variety of experiences for guests, including the Cu Chi Tunnels, the War Remnants Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Reunification Palace.

• Mumbai, India: The Front Door to India – The bustling city of Mumbai, formerly Bombay, is the financial, commercial and entertainment capital of India. While in port, guests can learn about the iconic activist Gandhi at the Mani Bhavan Gandhi Museum and visit the Hanging Gardens, one of the prized few parks found in the busy metropolis.

• Luxor, Egypt: Temples and Tombs – The site of the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, Luxor is dense with historical monuments for guests to explore, including the Temple of Karnak and the Valley of the Kings & Valley of the Queens, which house the tombs of the Pharaohs and their wives.

• Eight All-New Ports in South America – Guests will visit eight all-new Viking ports while in South America, including Roseau, Dominica, two ports in Chile (La Serena (Coquimbo) and Iquique), three ports in Peru (Arequipa (Matarani), Pisco (General San Martín) and Lima (Callao)) and finally guests will explore Quito (Manta), Ecuador and Panama City (Fuerte Amador), Panama.

Viking's ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, with 465 staterooms that can accommodate 930 guests. Viking Sun is the fourth addition to Viking's award-winning ocean fleet, which also includes Viking Star, Viking Sea and Viking Sky, and was recently "named" in Shanghai during its first-ever sold out World Cruise. Viking will welcome two more sister ships in the next two years, including Viking Orion in June 2018. With the arrival of Viking Jupiter in 2019, Viking will be the largest small ship ocean cruise line. Ten additional ships are also planned for delivery starting in 2021, which could bring Viking's ocean fleet to 16 ships by 2027. Classified as "small ships," Viking's ocean fleet features modern Scandinavian design with elegant touches, intimate spaces and attention to detail.

Cunard's "Three Queens" Offer Royal Wedding Celebration
Cunard has announced it will have exclusive celebrations on board Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth on May 19, 2018 in honor of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's nuptials. Those who are not able to cross the pond to attend the wedding festivities will be offered special viewing parties and royal celebrations around the world on Cunard's fleet of "Three Queens." The Royal Celebration on May 19 will include:

• Screening of the Royal Wedding

• Royal Wedding Afternoon Tea with specially created cakes including the Union Jack Butterfly, Chocolate Crown, Victoria Wedding Cake along with traditional finger sandwiches, scones, clotted cream and jams

• Celebration cocktails including the Princess Bride, The King's Steed, American Beauty, Midnight Over the Atlantic and P.S. I Love You

• Commemorative dinner and keepsake menu in the main dining rooms on board (Queens Grill, Princess Grill, Britannia, Britannia Club, and Verandah)

• Celebration cake, modelled after the bride and groom's, made of lemon and elderflower to be served in each of the restaurants

• Champagne at dinner

Passengers on all three ships will have the opportunity to toast the happy couple from all over the world. Guests on flagship ocean liner Queen Mary 2 will be sailing on one of her signature transatlantic voyages, headed towards the UK, as they celebrate the royal wedding. Those on Queen Elizabeth will be in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Queen Victoria passengers will be in Portree, Scotland.

Cunard is no stranger to the royal family, in fact Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, attended her first Cunard event in 1938 when she was only 12 years old. Since then The Queen has launched and named four Cunard ships. Her Majesty is the only person who has been present at the launch of all three ships named Queen Elizabeth - the first in 1938, QE2 in 1967 and Queen Elizabeth in 2010.

"We are excited to celebrate the royal wedding with our guests on board all three Cunard ships," said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. "We are thrilled to honor this special moment in time, and to commemorate Cunard's longstanding special relationship with the Royal Family," he added.

On Cunard's iconic Queen Mary 2, which offers regularly-scheduled Transatlantic Crossings from New York to Southampton, England from May through December, pre- and post-voyage tours visit London with stops at Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, among other regal venues.

Princess Cruises Kicks Off 2018 Alaska Cruise Season
rincess Cruises has welcomed the start of the 2018 Alaska cruise season, offering guests more options to experience the best of the Great Land. Princess Cruises takes more guests to the 49th state than any other cruise line, offering unique itineraries, cruisetour options and new guest experiences that bring the history, people and culture of Alaska to life both on land and at sea.

This summer Princess Cruises has seven ships sailing the region including the newly enhanced Golden Princess. Guests will be able to experience the newly designed restaurant space and menu at Sabatini's Italian Trattoria; create, play and huddle at the Camp Discovery youth and teen center; and be entertained while watching a variety of the newest movies, shows and concerts on a more technologically advanced Movies Under the Stars screen aboard Golden Princess.

While onboard all ships sailing Alaska this year, guests will encounter a variety of ways to engage in unique Alaska experiences through the award-winning North to Alaska program, featuring the line's favorite "Cook My Catch," an exclusive culinary program allowing guests to return from select Princess fishing excursions to have the chef prepare their very own catch of the day. Also offered, the crowd-favorite Puppies in the Piazza, where real Alaska sled dog puppies are brought onboard in Skagway for guests to interact with.

Guests venturing into the interior of Alaska on a Princess cruisetour visiting Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge will be some of the first to visit the lodge's newest addition, a wilderness treehouse built by Pete Nelson of Animal Planet's hit show "Treehouse Masters." The treehouse, completed in fall 2017, in conjunction with the line's Discovery partnership, provides a unique perspective of Denali – the tallest mountain in North America.

The treehouse will open its doors to guests looking to take part in unique activities including "Tales from the Sourdough Expedition," a historic walking tour led by Todd Huston, the first disabled person to break an able-bodied world record in sports by climbing to the highest elevations in each of the 50 United States faster than anyone else. During the walk guests will hear first-hand stories from his journey as well as that of the historic first summit by Pioneer Alaskans in 1910. Guests will also be able to meet with a local Birch tree sap harvesters and enjoy Sappy Hour, a "sweet" look into the process of harvesting this natural product of the boreal forests and products developed from it.

"This year, our guests will be delighted by the newly designed guest experiences highlighting the history of Alaska and its people that adds a unique layer to an already unbelievable cruise vacation," said Lisa Syme, Princess Cruises vice president.

In addition to new programming on land, Princess debuts a new dining venue at the line's Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge, Rod & Reel. The restaurant renovation is the latest enhancement to the lodge located on the Kenai Peninsula, and will offer new menu items for both lunch and dinner.

Carnival Cruise Line Names Lars Ljoen to Head Marine Operations
Carnival Cruise Line announced today that it has appointed Lars Ljoen as its new executive vice president of marine operations. Ljoen is currently the executive vice president and managing director of Carnival Maritime, the marine service unit of the Costa Group in Hamburg, Germany.

Ljoen will be responsible for overseeing all of Carnival Cruise Line's marine operations, including nautical and technical operations, environmental compliance and safety. He will be succeeding Martin Landtman, Carnival's senior vice president of marine operations, who will be retiring from Carnival in June.

"Lars has the leadership skills and experience to further drive continuous improvement and operational excellence in marine operations across our fleet," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Having run Costa Group's maritime unit, Lars will bring vast knowledge, passion and enthusiasm to this role and we are excited to welcome him to the team."

Ljoen has a long and successful track record in marine operations. He joined the Costa Group in 2015 as senior vice president and was promoted to executive vice president and Managing Director in 2016. At Costa, he was responsible for fleet governance, Marine Projects and continuous improvement initiatives. From 2005 to 2015, Ljoen headed the development of business strategies for Ceres Marine Terminals (NYK Ports) in Miami. Prior to that, he was director of marine operations at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd where he managed fleet-wide navigation issues, maritime training and dock operations. A native Norwegian, Ljoen began his career on supply vessels and shuttle tankers in the North Sea offshore industry.

"There is strong collaboration among the brands at Carnival Corporation and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to step into this leadership role at Carnival Cruise Line, working closely with the seasoned team of maritime professionals," said Ljoen.

Princess And "The Love Boat" Cast To Receive Hollywood Walk of Fame Star
Just over 40 years ago (May 1977), a new television show premiered, set aboard a cruise ship, featuring stories of romance, hijinks and adventure on the high seas that involved characters portrayed by Hollywood's biggest stars of the day. The opening theme song lyrics invited viewers to "come aboard, we're expecting you…" Today, "The Love Boat" remains a beloved part of the fabric and culture of television and the ensemble cast along with ocean-going co-star Princess Cruises will be honored by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, superintendent of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, will honor Princess Cruises and the original cast of "The Love Boat;" Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Jill Whelan (Vicki), Ted Lange (Isaac), Bernie Kopell (Doc), Lauren Tewes (Julie) and Fred Grandy (Gopher) during a ceremony on Thursday, May 10, 2018 in front of the Dolby Theatre on the famed Hollywood Boulevard.

"What an unexpected thrill for our cast to be honored with Princess Cruises on Hollywood Boulevard," said Gavin MacLeod, aka Captain Merrill Stubing and 30-year brand ambassador for Princess Cruises. "'The Love Boat' offered us many opportunities to see the world, create lifelong friendships and of course introduce the joys of cruising. People still approach me and say that the show gave them something to dream about – falling in love, finding happiness all while sparking the desire to travel. Now more than 40 years later, cruising is a vacation option for everyone and the growth of the industry just proves that dreams really do come true," added MacLeod.

It began in the mid-70s when television producer Douglas S. Cramer, who had created the popular television series "Love, American Style," decided to transplant his popular comedy vignette series from its studio setting to the environs of a modern cruise ship. The resulting television show, "The Love Boat" has been widely credited with introducing millions of viewers to the concept of a contemporary cruise vacation and the dramatic growth of the industry, which continues to expand globally today.

"We're proud to welcome the original cast of 'The Love Boat' and Princess Cruises as Friends of the Walk of Fame recognizing their contribution to the history of television and support for the preservation of the Walk of Fame," said Leron Gubler, president and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

After the 1977 pilot show, which was shot aboard the line's original Sun Princess in Mexico, Cramer teamed up with top television producer Aaron Spelling and "The Love Boat" went on to enjoy phenomenal success, continuing for 10 seasons until 1987 as one of the highest-rated, prime-time television shows in the country. Princess Cruises soon became a household name as the primary setting and co-star of the popular series, and continues to be known as the "Love Boat" cruise line today. Pacific Princess and Island Princess were the two original ships but as the show grew in popularity "The Love Boat" was filmed aboard many Princess ships at exotic destinations around the globe.

"The Hollywood Historic Trust is pleased to welcome our newest Friends of the Walk of Fame," said Donelle Dadigan, co-chair of the Hollywood Historic Trust, the organization that works to maintain the world-famous walk. Ms. Dadigan is also chair of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for 2018.

Like no other show in television history, "The Love Boat" featured more than 1,000 celebrity guest stars including Tom Hanks, Florence Henderson, Charo, Debbie Reynolds, Milton Berle, Mickey Rooney, Ethel Merman and Ginger Rogers, to name a few. The original "Love Boat" series is currently in worldwide syndication, having been translated into more than 29 different languages, and is viewed by millions of fans in more than 93 countries. Fans can watch episodes on MeTV, Memorable Entertainment Television, America's #1 all classic television network.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 63.06 - 4.84%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 108.19 - 9.62%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.44 - 0.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 53.47 - 5.78%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which former White Star liner retained her original White Star name (ending in -ic) and funnel colors well after the two lines merged in 1934 until she was retired in late 1960?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was the name of the last cruise ship to sail the Haifa to New York route for Israel's Zim lines?

Answer - The ship was the Shalom, built in 1964. She rammed the Stolt Bagdali in NY in Nov 1964 and the tanker sank. After a brief career with Zim, she was renamed Hanseatic for German Atlantic Line, then Doric for Home Lines, followed by Royal Odyssey for Royal Cruise Line, and finally, Regent Sun for Regency Cruises. She sank while under tow for scrapping in 2001 off the coast of S. Africa
courtesy of cant@sympatico.ca


Cruise News - April 23, 2018

Norwegian Cruise Line Takes Delivery Of Norwegian Bliss
Today, Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the 168,028-gross-ton Norwegian Bliss, from Meyer Werft during a ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany, marking the conclusion of an 18-month building period. In attendance were executives from Norwegian Cruise Line, including Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer, Harry Sommer, executive vice president of international business development, Robin Lindsay, executive vice president of vessel operations for the 16-ship fleet, representatives from Meyer Werft including Bernard and Tim Meyer, managing partners of the German-based shipyard, and the ship's captain and hotel director. Before cruising to Southampton, England to begin her transatlantic journey on April 21, Norwegian Bliss will showcase all she has to offer to her first guests during a two-day European inaugural preview cruise hosted by Andy Stuart and Harry Sommer.

Upon her arrival to the U.S. on May 3, the festivities for her U.S inaugural tour will commence with two-night preview events in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles, and will conclude with a grand christening ceremony and sailing from her first homeport at Pier 66 in Seattle, Washington on May 30. Following a three-day inaugural voyage with a call into the port of Victoria, British Columbia, she will return on June 2 and will then embark on her first seven-day voyage to Alaska.

"Norwegian Bliss is one of our most highly-anticipated ships to date, and today marks another exciting milestone for the newest and most innovative ship of our young and modern fleet," said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. "The Meyer Werft team, along with our operations teams, ship officers and crew members, has done an incredible job bringing Norwegian Bliss to life and we cannot wait for guests to experience all she has to offer."

"We're happy to deliver another ship to Norwegian Cruise Line," said Bernard Meyer, managing partner of Meyer Werft. "We are extremely proud of our partnership of over 15 years and are confident that the first ship custom-built for cruising to Alaska will exceed the expectations of their guests."

Norwegian Bliss, the third ship in the line's Breakaway Plus class, the most successful class in the company's history, is the first cruise ship specifically designed with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruising experience. On board, guests will be able to experience their favorite amenities by Norwegian Cruise Line, plus some new first-at-sea offerings. Norwegian Bliss will thrill and excite guests with the largest competitive race track at sea, a first for any North America-based cruise ship. The two-level electric-car race track sits at the top of deck 19, offering guests amazing views while twisting and turning at a speed of up to 30 miles per hour. After a thrilling ride, guests can then test their agility at the open-air laser tag course, or race side-by-side on the Aqua Racer waterslide at the expansive Aqua Park, with two multi-story waterslides, one of which extends over the edge of the ship and loops down to the deck below.

Aboard Norwegian Bliss, culinary enthusiasts can savor new exclusive specialty dining and bar concepts such as the debuting Texas smokehouse – Q, the cruise line's first full-service Starbucks store at sea, and Coco's – a chocolate and sweet treats shop. At The District Brew House, guests can enjoy a variety of craft cocktails and beers, including local Seattle favorites from Red Hook Brewery.

Continuing with Norwegian's commitment to offering incredible entertainment across the fleet, Norwegian Bliss features new programming that includes the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Jersey Boys, and ¡HAVANA! – an original musical theater show created and produced specifically for Norwegian Bliss. The creative group behind ¡HAVANA! include Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Warren Carlyle, Cuban-American design duo Isabel and Ruben Toledo and features original songs by Cuban-American, Grammy-winning singer – Albita. Norwegian Bliss also features a new theatrical cocktail hour experience, Happy Hour Prohibition – The Musical that will transport guests to a New Orleans speakeasy on the eve of the Prohibition era. At The Cavern Club, guests can enjoy their favorite songs from The Beatles live with a talented cover band, in a setting inspired by the Liverpool Club where The Beatles famously performed countless times.

Guests on Norwegian Bliss can relax with a variety of accommodations including luxurious suites in The Haven by Norwegian, studio staterooms for solo travelers with virtual ocean views, and plenty of connecting staterooms ideal for large groups and families. Two expansive observation lounges, one exclusively accessible for Haven guests, will offer cruisers uninterrupted views of the natural beauty of the sea and shore throughout their journeys.

Beginning June 2018, Norwegian Bliss will spend her summer cruising seven-day voyages to Alaska, and fall season cruising to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles. In winter of 2018, she will sail the Caribbean from Miami, and in the 2019 fall/winter season she will cruise from New York City to Florida, the Bahamas and Caribbean.

Carnival Announces Senior Officers For New Carnival Panorama
With its spectacular new West Coast ship already open for sale and taking reservations, Carnival Cruise Line has named its senior leadership team for the Carnival Panorama, scheduled to enter service in 2019. Currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, Carnival Panorama will be based in Long Beach, Calif. – the line's first new ship homeported on the West Coast in 20 years.

Carnival Panorama's senior officers include some of the most talented and experienced mariners in the cruise industry:

Captain Carlo Queirolo: A 33-year Carnival veteran, the Rapallo, Italy, native joined the company as a deck cadet aboard the TSS Festivale in 1985 and, after moving up the ranks, was named captain in 1996. During his three-plus decades at sea, he has commanded just about every ship in the Carnival Cruise Line fleet and been part of the inaugural teams for Carnival Elation, Carnival Paradise, Carnival Glory and Carnival Dream.

Chief Engineer Nunzio Priolo: A native of Catania, Sicily, Priolo joined Carnival Cruise Line in 1980 as a third officer after serving in the Italian Navy and working aboard a number of cargo vessels. After moving up the ranks, he was named chief engineer in 2004 and was part of the start-up team for Carnival Miracle in 2004. Over his 28-year Carnival career, he has served on nearly every ship in the fleet.

Hotel Director Damir Mrsic: Mrsic joined Carnival in 1993 as a member of the beverage operations team and was named hotel director in 2009. During his Carnival career, he has worked as bar manager and food and beverage manager, while serving on the start-up teams for Carnival Legend, Carnival Freedom and Carnival Splendor. A native of Zadar, Croatia, Mrsic graduated from the Maritime Academy in Salzburg, Austria. He worked in several hotels along the Adriatic Sea before joining Carnival.

With almost 100 years of combined experience at Carnival, these seasoned professionals will lead a team of nearly 1,400 crew members who will travel to Marghera to prepare the 133,500-ton vessel for its inaugural voyage from Long Beach – a three-day cruise to Ensenada operating Dec. 11-14, 2019.

Following its inaugural voyage, Carnival Panorama will launch year-round seven-day cruises Dec. 14, 2019, departing Long Beach every Saturday to stunning destinations along the Mexican Riviera, including Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta. Carnival began accepting reservations for Panorama's west coast cruises in March.

Voyages will depart from the newly refurbished Long Beach Cruise Terminal, housed in a massive 146,000-square-foot geodesic dome that once served as home to Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose airplane. The expanded and renovated facility offers streamlined embarkation and debarkation processes along with stunning design elements that pay homage to the Golden State.

Like its name implies, Carnival Panorama will feature venues offering both indoor and al fresco experiences, including the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Bonsai Sushi, Bonsai Teppanyaki and Guy Fieri's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse, among others. The ship will also feature groundbreaking attractions like bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction SkyRide, a massive WaterWorks aqua park, and the SportSquare recreation area, along with vibrant Havana section with tropics-inspired staterooms and its own Cuban-themed bar and pool, Family Harbor featuring extra-roomy accommodations, the Family Harbor Lounge and the luxurious Cloud 9 Spa. It will be the third ship in Carnival's Vista Class, following Carnival Vista and Carnival Horizon.

Princess Cruises Reveals 2020 World Cruise Onboard Pacific Princess
Destination lovers seeking new worldwide travel experiences need to look no further than Princess Cruises and the cruise line's 2020 World Cruise. Offered on the intimate 670-guest Pacific Princess, cruisers will visit 42 destinations on five continents and come back holding once-in-a-lifetime memories from around the globe.

Due to popular demand of the 2019 World Cruise, the 2020 111-day roundtrip voyage offers similar routing to the 2019 cruise, including South Africa and departs Ft. Lauderdale on January 5, 2020 and Los Angeles on January 20, 2020. Princess Cruises also offers a 96-day Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale segment, departing Los Angeles on January 20, 2020, as well as shorter, multi-day segments along the journey.

"We've been offering World Cruises since 1998 and our team of destination experts knows how to create the best worldwide itineraries like no other in the cruise industry," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "Our Captain, officers and crew regularly hear from guests the impact the World Cruise has on them, as they share their appreciation for taking them to places they never in a million years thought they would experience."

Fun facts and Princess Cruises firsts for the 2020 World Cruise include:

• Cruise to 42 destinations, 26 countries on five continents

• 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the first visit to Stone Town in Zanzibar

• Pacific Princess will sail 34,287 nautical miles in 111 days

• The World Cruise crosses the Equator four times

• First time Princess Cruises on a World Cruise visits Kaikoura, New Zealand; Praslin, Seychelles Islands; Mayotte Island, (French protectorate); and Zanzibar, Tanzania

• First call to Melbourne on a World Cruise for Princess Cruises

• 12 late-night stays to maximize time in port, including Melbourne, Tahiti, Phuket and an overnight in Cape Town, South Africa

The 2020 World Cruise aboard Pacific Princess goes on sale on Wednesday, April 25,

Celebrity Cruises Announces Redesigned Spa Program
Together, Celebrity Cruises and Canyon Ranch have set out to reinvent fitness at sea, inspired by the latest innovations and wellness trends in the world. The redesigned onboard program includes 20 new fitness classes and seminar experiences for guests.

There are six class categories based on different core needs and exercise groups: Sweat, Conditioning, Longevity, Mindfulness, Nutrition, and Acupuncture.

”At Celebrity Cruises we’re always looking for ways to pump-up the volume and raise the bar. Together with the Canyon Ranch team, we saw the opportunity to enhance our guest experience by revamping our fitness program and adding brand new classes inspired by the latest developments in fitness,” said Brian Abel, Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations, Celebrity Cruises. “With this new program, guests can enjoy a best-in-cruise fitness experience with unrivaled amenities, experienced and highly trained fitness experts, and a full schedule of invigorating and body-changing classes on board our ships.”

”Wellness is a lifestyle and this redesigned program empowers our guests to evolve their workout regimens along on the high seas,” said Sandra Foyil, Senior Vice President of Canyon Ranch At Sea. “Fitness enthusiasts and beginners alike will discover a wide range of experiences to challenge themselves and improve their well-being for optimal health.”

Among the new classes and seminar experiences are:

• SWEAT: TABATA IMPACT Less is more, with this fast and furious integrated interval workout that hails from Japan. Tabata offers the best of cardio and training techniques to provide a full-body workout incorporating enhanced core-strength training exercise

• CONDITIONING: PILATES TO THE BEAT This lively, Pilates mat-inspired class is choreographed to upbeat pop songs. Guests can challenge themselves to rhythmically flow from one exercise to next

• LONGEVITY: AGE-DEFYING TECHNOLOGY Learn about the latest technologies, services and products that could help push back the hands of time

• NUTRITION: DETOX 101: WEIGHT LOSS AND MORE Gain knowledge about the most effective detoxifying foods, and how they promote weight loss and overall well-being

• ACUPUNCTURE: ACUPUNCTURE FOR PAIN RELIEF Treat pain, revive energy levels, get to the root of digestive discomfort, aid a healthy night's sleep, de-stress, feel younger, and live longer. Learn from a licensed acupuncturist about the incredible effects of this proven healing practice

Carnival Selects Konami's SYNKROS Casino Management System for Fleetwide Gaming Operations
Konami Gaming, Inc. announced it has reached an agreement with Carnival Corporation & plc to deliver its award-winning SYNKROS casino management system across the entire global fleet. As Carnival Corporation's preferred partner for core gaming systems, SYNKROS will provide systems hardware and software for 100+ ships spanning a portfolio of nine cruise line brands.

"A key component of Carnival Corporation's long-term global focus is driving future innovation and leveraging technology that advances the greatest vacation experience for our guests," said Marty Goldman, senior vice president, global casino operations, at Carnival Corporation & plc. "After extensive evaluations, Konami not only had the robust technical infrastructure required to support our goals, but also the company values, culture, and professionalism to foster true partnership."

Konami's SYNKROS will reach onboard casinos spanning nine leading brands: Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, P&O Cruises (Australia), and P&O Cruises (UK). New build ships are also planned for implementation as it progresses.

"Carnival Corporation has demonstrated incredible achievements in enhancing experiential value for guests, with groundbreaking service, convenience, and technology," said Tom Jingoli executive vice president & chief commercial officer at Konami Gaming, Inc. "The launch of SYNKROS across its casino portfolio will equip Carnival Corporation with a unified global system, bringing together marketing, reporting, analytics, accounting, and more within a single agile environment."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.27 + 3.42%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 119.71 + 3.46%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.44 - 2.70%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 56.75 + 6.19%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the name of the last cruise ship to sail the Haifa to New York route for Israel's Zim lines

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
When the France of 1962 was built for the French Line she cost $80 million. How much did Norwegian Cruise Line pay for the classic liner when they acquired her in 1979?

Answer - NCL bought the France for 18M USD in 1979.
courtesy of Jonas Ekstam, Stockholm, Sweden


Cruise News - April 16, 2018

American Cruise Lines Completes Sea Trials Of Newest Ship
American Cruise Lines announced this week that its first new ship of 2018, American Constitution, successfully passed Sea Trials last week in Chesapeake Bay. With the U.S. Coast Guard aboard, American Constitution underwent speed trials, an endurance run, and was thoroughly tested in all areas of safety and maneuverability.

“The American Constitution passed with flying colors,” said Paul Taiclet, Vice President of Hotel Operations, who was aboard for the Sea Trials. “The ship performed exceptionally well and has a number of enhancements that further American’s tradition of innovation in small ship cruising.”

One of the new advanced features noted by Mr. Taiclet are new acoustical treatments and vibration dampening systems throughout the ship, which make it extremely quiet even when running at full speed. Now that American Constitution’s Sea Trials are completed, the Line looks forward with great excitement to the ship’s inaugural cruise from Baltimore this Wednesday, April 18th.

The first cruise will also be the Line’s first American Revolution Cruise—a new 10-night cruise around Chesapeake Bay that features ports central to our nation’s history. For the remainder of 2018, the new ship will stay on the East Coast, where it will run a series of trips in summer and fall from Boston, MA and New York, NY.

American Cruise Lines is proud of its commitment to building only new advanced ships. Every ship in the Line’s expanding fleet is built to spec in the United States and showcases the finest American design and craftsmanship—all ships are U.S. crewed and flagged. American already maintains the largest fleet in the U.S. and continues to expand year after year. American offers its passengers the widest range of gracefully appointed technically superior ships in the industry. In 2018, the Line continues this tradition of excellence as American Constitution is now the newest and finest ship available on the Eastern Seaboard.

Queen Mary 2 Guests to be First to Board the QE2 Hotel in Dubai
Dubai will welcome the most famous ocean liners in the world when the arrival of Queen Mary 2 coincides with the opening of the Queen Elizabeth 2 hotel.

Guests travelling on QM2 will have the opportunity to join VIPs and local media at the opening of the QE2 on 18th April. Future guests will also have the chance to visit when QM2 returns to Dubai in January and April 2019 as part of her World Voyage.

QE2 was launched by Her Majesty the Queen in 1967 and was the Cunard flagship liner (a role she relinquished to Queen Mary 2 in May 2004), undertaking 25 world cruises, crossing the Atlantic more than 800 times and carrying more than 2.5 million passengers. QE2 is owned by PCFC Hotels - part of the Dubai government's Ports, Customs and Free Zones Corporation and will reside permanently at Mina Rashid, Dubai.

"On behalf of Cunard, we are so excited for our guests sailing on Queen Mary 2 to be of the first to board the QE2 Hotel in Dubai," said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. "QE2 holds a very special place in Cunard's history, and we hope that the ship will continue to be enjoyed by many guests to come."

Holland America Line Celebrates 145th Anniversary April 18
Holland America Line is celebrating its 145th anniversary today, April 18, 2018, marking its place in history as one of the most experienced cruise lines in the world. What started as shipping and passenger line Netherlands-American Steamship Company in 1873, is today an award-winning premium cruise line taking guests to more than 400 ports around the world, sailing on all seven continents.

Within 25 years of its founding, the company owned a fleet of six cargo and passenger ships and operated between Holland and the Dutch East Indies. Because it was headquartered in Rotterdam and provided service to the Americas, over time the company became known as Holland America Line.

"Holland America Line proudly honors the rich and rare legacy of our past while exceeding the expectations of today's traveler with the very best experience at sea," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "Throughout the history of the company, our purpose has remained the same: to bring to life the dreams of those who sail with us, discovering new places, cultures and people along the journey. We look forward to the next 145 years."

Though transportation and shipping were the primary sources of revenue, in 1895 the company offered its first vacation cruise. The line was primarily a carrier of immigrants from Europe to the United States until well after the turn of the century, bringing nearly one million people to new lives in the New World. It supported the Allied cause during two world wars and several ships served as troop carriers. In 1973, the company sold its cargo shipping division.

Through the early '70s, Holland America Line was the first to establish schools in Indonesia and the Philippines to train future employees, thereby making its shipboard service renowned in the industry. Holland America Line has been headquartered in Seattle since 1983. Purchased by Carnival Corporation in 1989, the company grew to new heights, embarking upon a shipbuilding path that has seen the introduction of 16 new vessels over the years to the line's fleet so far.

Today, the premium cruise leader operates 14 ships sailing to all seven continents. Throughout its history Holland America Line has carried more than 16 million passengers to vacation destinations across the globe.

In December 2018, Holland America Line will welcome Nieuw Statendam to the fleet. Nieuw Statendam is the second Pinnacle Class ship for Holland America Line, joining Koningsdam, which launched in April 2016. A third Pinnacle Class ship will set sail for the cruise line in 2021.

The new 99,500-ton ship will reflect the ongoing evolution of the company. Holland America Line's first ship to be called Statendam sailed in 1898, and this will be the sixth ship in the company's history to carry the name. In combining the Dutch word for "new" with the classic Statendam, Holland America Line is celebrating the company's past, present and future.

Carnival Celebrates Opening of St. Maarten Shore Excursion
Carnival Corporation celebrated the official grand opening of Rainforest Adventure's Rockland Estate eco-park attraction April 11 in St. Maarten. To mark the occasion, a ceremony was attended by esteemed government officials, including Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin and Governor Dr. Eugene Holiday, as well as Rainforest Adventures president Josef Preschel and key Carnival Corporation officials, including David Candib, vice president of development and operations for the global port and destination development group.

With financing from Carnival Corporation and built by Rainforest Adventures, Rockland Estate is a one-of-a-kind attraction expected to quickly become one of the most popular in the Caribbean. It has something for everyone – thrill-seeking adventures, including the world's steepest zip line and a mountain chair lift with breathtaking views and a heart-racing tube ride, as well as a museum that showcases the rich history and culture of St. Maarten and its people. Guests from eight of Carnival Corporation's brands with itineraries visiting the island will have the opportunity to experience the new shore excursion, recently named by USA Today 10Best as a top Caribbean attraction.

"We are proud to be part of the Rockland Estate development, and we are excited that this new attraction will surely become a bucket-list item for visitors to the island, whether they're looking to take in incredible views, experience one-of-a-kind rides or gain perspective on the rich history and culture of the island," said David Candib, vice president of development and operations for the global port and destination development group at Carnival Corporation. "St. Maarten is already a beloved destination by guests across our eight cruise line brands that visit the island, and we're confident that Rockland Estate will create an even more compelling reason to visit the country on a cruise vacation."

Rockland Estate is considered an eco-adventure park committed to preserving native eco-systems while ensuring the sustainability of the estate's physical and intangible attributes. The overall goal of the Rainforest Adventures team in building the attraction was to enhance and preserve St. Maarten's natural and built environments and endorse its cultural and historical significance, while also promoting education through adventure.

Said Preschel, president of Rainforest Adventures: "In constructing the park, one of our goals was to uphold our commitment to environmental conservation, with less than five percent of the Emilio Wilson Estate impacted by the new Rockland Estate eco-adventure park. Our other key goal is to educate visitors on the importance of ongoing conservation in this area and to celebrate local history and culture, while also providing thrilling rides and relaxing activities."

"St. Maarten continues to be one of the Caribbean's most popular vacation destinations, and providing new offerings is key in attracting interest in our beautiful and friendly island from both new and returning tourists," said Cornelius de Weever, acting minister of tourism, economic affairs, transportation and telecommunications for St. Maarten. "Rockland Estate is one of the most important attraction developments in St. Maarten in a decade, and we are confident that it will boost tourism. We're excited for more and more visitors to experience all that the park has to offer – from a look into the rich history of St. Maarten to exciting rides that provide breathtaking views of the island."

Located on the historic Emilio Wilson Estate a short ride from St. Maarten's Port of Philipsburg Cruise Terminal, Rockland Estate eco-park encompasses the widest variety of thrill rides and attractions in the Caribbean. The lineup features:

• Soualiga Sky Explorer: Soualiga Sky Explorer encompasses 68 four-passenger chairs that take guests to a transfer station for zip line and tubing rides, and then on to the top of one of St. Maarten's highest points at 1,125 feet where they can take in spectacular panoramic views.

• Sentry Hill Zip Line: From the transfer station at the midpoint of the Soualiga Sky Explorer, guests can experience the exciting Sentry Hill Zip Line, where riders traverse a 1,600-foot, four-span line that provides unforgettable vistas of the mountain ridge.

• Schooner Ride: The Schooner Ride at the midway point of the Soualiga Sky Explorer gives guests the chance to surf down the mountain in large 40-inch inner tubes across a specially designed 657-foot track of heart-pounding curves mixed with fast straightaways.

• Top of Sentry Hill: One of St. Maarten's highest elevations, Sentry Hill, offers walkways and platforms that encircle the mountaintop, showcasing 360-degree vistas of the island with views of neighboring Saba, St. Barts, St. Eustatius and Anguilla.

• Flying Dutchman: The Flying Dutchman is Rockland Estate's main attraction and the world's steepest zip line. It guarantees thrill-seekers the ride of a lifetime while securely harnessed in a chair, dropping them 1,050 feet in elevation from the top of Sentry Hill down the mountain over a 2,800-foot span.

• Emilio Wilson Museum: Originally built as a plantation home in the 1700s, the museum tells the powerful story of Trace Wilson, who was born into slavery on the property, and her direct descendant, St. Maarten pioneer and preservationist Emilio Wilson. It also highlights the customs, traditions, lifestyle and stories that have earned St. Maarten the moniker "The Friendly Island."

St. Maarten is a popular destination for cruise guests, with 1.66 million cruisers visiting the island in 2016. The country's port has been recognized several times by the readers of Cruise Fever as the best cruise port in the Caribbean, and was chosen by cruisers as the number two Eastern Caribbean, Bahamas and Bermuda port of call in Cruise Critic's Cruiser's Choice 2017 Destination Awards. Additionally, cruise tourism plays an important role in the country's economy, representing one third of its gross domestic product (GDP).

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Announces $1 Billion Share Repurchase Program

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.today announced that its Board of Directors authorized a three-year, $1 billion share repurchase program. The Company may repurchase its ordinary shares from time to time, in amounts, at prices and at such times as it deems appropriate, subject to market conditions and other considerations. The Company may make repurchases in the open market, in privately negotiated transactions, in accelerated repurchase programs or in structured share repurchase programs, and any repurchases may be made pursuant to Rule 10b5-1 plans. The program will be conducted in compliance with applicable legal requirements and will be subject to market conditions and other factors.

"The $1 billion share repurchase program authorization reflects our ongoing confidence in our financial strength and the long-term outlook of our business," said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “Our strong and growing cash flow will allow us to deepen our commitment to provide returns to our shareholders, while continuing to invest in our product, innovation and growth.”

The program does not obligate the Company to acquire any particular amount of ordinary shares and the program may be modified or suspended at any time at the Company’s discretion.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 64.08 - 1.20%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 115.71 + 0.50%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.48 + 2.78%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 53.44 + 0.77%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
When the France of 1962 was built for the French Line she cost $80 million. How much did Norwegian Cruise Line pay for the classic liner when they acquired her in 1979?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which cruise ship was the first ship to be so large that she could not fit through the Panama Canal?

Answer - The Carnival Destiny was the first cruise ship too large to fit through the Panama Canal. (Note: NCL's Norway was also too large to fit through the Panama Canal but she started life as an ocean liner).
courtesy of Robert Smithson, Miami, Florida


Cruise News - April 9, 2018

QE2 Returns To Service As A Hotel In Dubai
After nearly ten years of an uncertain future that included rumors of imminent scrapping, the former flagship of Cunard's fleet, Queen Elizabeth 2 returns to service this month as a hotel ship in Port Rashid, Dubai. The former ocean line first arrived in Dubai in November 2008 and changed ownership numerous times as plans to return her to some form of service came and went.

Over the past year however, her latest owners - the Dubai government entity Port, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) - reportedly spent millions of dollars refurbishing and reconditioning the ship in preparation of a return as a hotel, museum and visitor center. Her lifeboats and davits were removed as part of the conversion to a hotel but other than that, her exterior looks much like it did when she was retired from her Cunard service.

According to the hotel's website (www.qe2.com), the ship "...has been lovingly restored to her former glory - revitalized with all the latest in smart technology. Step aboard and relax in her comfortable rooms and suites that offer an imposing backdrop of Dubai's iconic skyline or the ocean beyond. Embark on a culinary journey across her 13 restaurants, bars and entertainment venues. Immerse yourself in her rich past at the onsite QE2 Exhibition."

The Queen Elizabeth 2 Hotel is now accepting reservations beginning April 18th for 650 AED per night, which converts to $176 USD. There are currently 224 refurbished rooms and suites and 13 restaurants open for guests' use. A spa and pool deck will be added shortly according to the The Queen Elizabeth 2 Hotel website.

Carnival Cruise Line Adds 20 Cruises To Cuba From Tampa
Carnival Cruise Line announced today it has added another 20 voyages to Cuba aboard Carnival Paradise from Tampa in 2019, complementing the 11 cruises to the island taking place aboard the vessel through next year.

The new voyages aboard Carnival Paradise are in addition to the 17 recently announced Cuba cruises aboard Carnival Sensation departing from Miami in 2019, indicating that more and more travelers view cruising as a great way to experience the destination.

"Our Cuba cruises have been met with phenomenal guest response since we began sailing to the island last year and we're thrilled to add yet another 20 voyages to this fascinating and sought-after destination," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

The newly added five-day voyages on Carnival Paradise will depart Tampa on Saturdays and feature a day-long or a full day and overnight call in the Cuban capital of Havana, along with stops at tropical destinations Key West and Cozumel. Carnival Paradise's new Cuba cruise schedule includes:

• 10, five-day cruises overnighting in Havana with a visit to Key West – departing March 2, April 13, May 25, June 22, July 6, Aug. 3 and 17, Sept. 14 and 28 and Oct. 26, 2019;

• Six, five-day voyages featuring a day-long call in Havana and a visit to Cozumel – departure dates include Jan. 5, March 16, May 11, Aug. 31, Nov. 9 and Dec. 7, 2019;

• Four, five-day sailings featuring day-long calls to Havana, Key West and Cozumel – departing Feb. 16, June 8, July 20 and Oct. 12, 2019.

Guests sailing on Carnival's Cuba cruises can select from nearly 20 different shore excursion experiences that showcase the island's vibrant culture, majestic beauty and centuries-old architectural landmarks. A variety of Cuban-themed activities and entertainment, including the sizzling Amor Cubano: A Caribbean Dance Romance Playlist Productions show, Havana-inspired deck parties, trivia contests and salsa lessons, are also offered. There's also an onboard Cuba expert who discusses the country's rich history and culture.

Carnival Paradise completed an extensive, multi-million-dollar refurbishment last month that added a spectacular water park, 38 new cabins, 98 balconies to existing staterooms, and an a host of exciting food and beverage concepts. New spaces include Guy's Burger Joint developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar, the BlueIguana Cantina Mexican eatery, a new Camp Ocean marine-themed play area, a nine-hole miniature golf course, a Pixels-branded digital photo platform and enhanced retail offerings including boutiques from Pandora and Guess.

The visits to Havana comply with regulations of the U.S. Department of Treasury that permit travel operators to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in activities as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Foreign Assets Control. Carnival's shore excursions meet all U.S. government regulations and provide a convenient means for complying with the people-to-people requirements of cruises to Cuba.

Quantum of the Seas To Homeport In Singapore In 2019-2020
Royal Caribbean International today announced that Quantum of the Seas, will be back in Singapore for a six-month homeporting season in 2019 to 2020 – the cruise line’s longest ever Singapore deployment for a Quantum Class ship.

The announcement with this ship which redefined cruising in Asia in terms of size and innovative amenities, reaffirms Royal Caribbean’s confidence in Singapore as the region’s leading cruising gateway, and its commitment to grow its cruise offerings in Singapore and the region.

Over her 34 sailings during the six months from November 2019 to April 2020, Quantum of the Seas is expected to add some 150,000 guests to the Singapore cruising scene. With this 18-deck high, 168,666 gross registered ton ship which can carry 4,905 guests in total, Royal Caribbean will increase its capacity in Singapore by 30 percent.

Her itineraries include 4-night cruises to Penang or Phuket, 5-night cruises to Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang), Penang and Phuket, a 7-night cruise to Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang), Penang and Phuket (with an overnight) and a 7-night cruise to Bangkok (Laem Chabang) (with an overnight) and Ho Chi Minh City.

Quantum of the Seas will also be revitalised prior to her return to Singapore. The multi-million dollar project will see the ship refreshed and upgraded to provide the best of the next-generation cruise experience for guests in this region.

President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Mr. Michael Bayley, said that the commitment to bring in bigger and better ships like Quantum of the Seas demonstrates Royal Caribbean’s confidence in the region to continue experiencing record-breaking growth.

“The Asian cruise market has seen tremendous growth over the last few years, and Singapore has been leading growth as one of the most significant cruise destinations and cruise source markets in the region,” said Mr. Bayley.

He added, “In response to the strong demand from Singapore and the region, we have decided to bring in longer cruises for Quantum of the Seas’ return. The season will feature cruises starting from four nights and the first ever 7-night round trip cruises on a Quantum Class ship here. With this ground-breaking itinerary design for the Asian cruise market, our guests will get the opportunity to enjoy a more comprehensive Quantum Class experience and take in more of what this amazing ship has to offer.”

Mr Yap Chin Siang, Assistant Chief Executive, Policy and Planning Group, Singapore Tourism Board, said, “We are pleased to welcome the new and improved Quantum of the Seas to Singapore. The Quantum’s upcoming deployment is a strong endorsement from Royal Caribbean International, our trusted industry partner, of Singapore’s status as Southeast Asia’s homeport of choice. The Quantum of the Seas will be a key addition to Singapore’s vibrant and diverse line-up of cruise offerings, catering to the strong demand for cruising from Singapore.”

The smart ship Quantum of the Seas currently offer the ‘North Star’, an observation capsule that rises 92 metres over the ocean; ‘Two70’ – a hi-tech entertainment venue; cocktails served by robots at the ‘Bionic Bar’; skydiving and surfing experiences; and ‘SeaPlex’, the largest indoor activity space at sea – housing a basketball court, roller-skating, bumper cars and more.

The ship also boasts 18 restaurant venues with cuisines from around the globe, including imaginative cuisine at Wonderland and Jamie’s Italian by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

New Carnival Horizon Takes Cruise Retail Offerings To The Next Level
Continuing Carnival Cruise Line's commitment to providing guests with the widest variety of choices at sea, the line has dramatically expanded its retail offerings with its newest ship, Carnival Horizon, featuring the fleet's most expansive retail space showcasing top brands like LeVian, Victoria's Secret and, for the first time, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Breitling and Hublot.

TDesigned to take Carnival's retail offerings to the next level, Carnival Horizon is distinguished by its modern two-level, mall-style shops located along the ship's atrium on decks 4 and 5 with branded outlets providing guests with a fun and engaging shopping experience.

"We've significantly upgraded our retail choices and spaces in recent years and with Carnival Horizon we're raising the bar with our biggest and best shopping experience yet," said William Butler, vice president of retail services at Carnival Cruise Line.

In addition to offering the largest and most varied offerings in the fleet, Carnival Horizon's retail space is unique in that it is divided into areas dedicated to a particular shopping experience, each designed around guests' interaction with the various interests. These areas include:

• Hip Fish: fashion jewelry, accessories, beauty and fragrances

• Front Street: fine jewelry and timepieces

• Cherry on Top: the "sweetest spot on board" with an assortment of candies, novelty items and fanciful gifts

• Carnival Store: the latest logo items and Carnival Horizon inaugural season memorabilia, as well as Carnival Adventures merchandise offering everything guests need for fun onboard and ashore, such as sunscreen and apparel

• Portside Liquor & Tobacco: popular duty-free items, including the most extensive spirits display at sea

Carnival Horizon brings these areas to life by offering a truly immersive shopping experience including a Beauty and Fragrance Bar that allows guests to try out cosmetics, skincare and fragrances and even enjoy a makeover before a night out on board. Port Side Liquor & Tobacco features a Spirits Tasting Bar where guests can sample and purchase some of the world's finest liquors, including coveted Hennessey White currently not available outside of travel retail. Guests can also take home their own personal keepsake at the Create Your Own jewelry experience within the Hip Fish outlet where they can custom-design jewelry made of Swarovski crystals. There's also the Wearable Tech outlet featuring the latest wearable technology with onboard experts on hand to match guests' style with a variety of watch brands tied to fitness tracking.

Shopping aboard Carnival Horizon is a true "retail-tainment" experience including special events and engaging spaces with expert staff enhancing guests' experience by providing giveaways, in-store parties and entertainment, other promotions. Promotions change daily with flexible pop-up spaces that showcase new fashion and jewelry trends, making Carnival Horizon unlike any other shopping experience, land or sea.

"Our guests are all about participatory fun and Carnival Horizon certainly takes that philosophy to the next level offering not only opportunities to sample the finest products but also keep up with fashion and beauty trends with interactive outlets staffed by experts to help them make the choice that's right for them. There's nothing else like it!" Butler said.

Carnival Horizon's expanded retail offerings are part of the line's continued emphasis on enhancing guests' overall shopping experience. Over the past year, Carnival Cruise Line has completely revamped the shopping outlets on nearly half its fleet with additional ships set for makeovers during upcoming refurbishments.

Carnival Horizon is currently sailing on its inaugural voyage which departed April 2 from Barcelona – the first of four voyages from that port. The ship repositions to New York in May to launch a summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean departures then shifts to Miami for year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning in September.

Seabourn Expands Culinary Offerings
Seabourn announced this week that it has a new dining experience for guests to savor in the open sea air. Introducing "Earth & Ocean at The Patio", an a la carte dinner venue developed by consulting Chef Anton Egger to entice guests with candlelight seating and a sophisticated menu celebrating flavors rooted in authentic local favorite foods from around the world. Set to debut with the launch of the line's newest ship, Seabourn Ovation, in May 2018, the new poolside al fresco culinary option will be offered during dinner service and will be fleetwide by spring 2019.

"'Earth & Ocean at The Patio continues the evolution of dining experiences across the Seabourn fleet, offering guests a culinary voyage to far-flung regions of the world served in a remarkably welcoming and relaxing open-air space," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "The new concept, which has some really unique service elements, will be one of many highlights for guests to savor with the launch of Seabourn Ovation, and we look forward to expanding it to all of our ships in the year ahead."

Egger has worked with Seabourn on numerous culinary projects, with "Earth & Ocean at The Patio" as the latest. He developed the concept, creating new recipes, table settings, and background music, and worked closely with Corporate Chef Franck Salein, who assisted on various aspects of the new venue.

Diners at "Earth & Ocean at The Patio" can look forward to a distinctive dining experience unlike any other on board, with an imaginative array of fresh, inventive dishes from around the world served in a relaxed setting under the stars illuminated with help of fading sunlight and soothing moonlight. The food will be complex yet genuine, rooted in favorite tastes from many regions around the world and served with the flawless hospitality for which Seabourn is so admired.

The Patio will continue to offer its regular poolside lunch service, featuring salads, soups, grilled specialties, and a selection of gourmet pizzas in the afternoon. Guests can also enjoy a signature Napa burger developed by culinary partner Chef Thomas Keller, as well as an artisanal hot-dog dubbed the Yountwurst, named for the hometown of The French Laundry, Ad Hoc, and the original Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery.

"What is familiar to some Seabourn guests will be a completely new experience to others," noted Egger, who, like many culinary talents, draws ideas and innovations from his travels. After getting his start in Austria, he staged in France and Switzerland, and then continued to travel and work across the globe, taking inspiration from the many culinary rich regions he visited, including Asia, India, the Caribbean and South America, the U.S., South Africa and more.

Guests arriving at "Earth & Ocean at The Patio" may be welcomed with items like smoked bacon grissini and house-made artisanal country bread. Other dishes will be served in simple and memorable ways, such as in still-sizzling long-handled black iron skillets, or ceramic Moroccan tagines covered to hold in moisture and smoke to produce succulent, full-flavored results. The restaurant's menus will change daily, including a different dish cooked in a tagine each night.

There will be more cooking methods and innovative presentations including salads and tasty dishes; meat brochettes quick-fired or grilled; beef brisket slow-cooked or braised; and traditional Chinese-style filled bao buns. The venue will also offer a different farmer's-style finishing course each evening, such as shareable oven-baked camembert or brie accompanied by a pot of honey pommery mustard and toasted rustic bread. Desserts of similarly shareable sweet temptations such as oven-baked peaches or slow-roasted pineapples served with house-made gelato will also be featured.

The entire menu will be served with distinctive table settings created in collaboration with ceramic artist Wynne Noble of Noble Plateware in New York and fashioned in the soothing colors of our earth and oceans.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 64.86 + 0.37%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 115.13 - 0.97%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.44 - 0.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 53.03 + 2.04%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which cruise ship was the first ship to be so large that she could not fit through the Panama Canal?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
American Export Lines operated a quartet of popular combination ships following the Second World War. The ships were known as the "Four Aces". What were the names of these ships?

Answer - The names of the "four aces" were the Excambion, Excalibur, Exhochondra, and Exeter.
courtesy of Rob Thompson, Miami, FL


Cruise News - April 2, 2018

P&O Cruises’ Launch ‘Walk the Wire’ – The World's First Tightrope Experience Between Two Cruise Ships at Sea
P&O Cruises is giving Australians the opportunity to experience a thrill-seeking activity of a lifetime with the launch of ‘Walk the Wire’ - the world’s first tightrope walk between two cruise ships as they glide side-by-side on the Pacific Ocean.

The safety harness equipped activity involves a 30-metre walk from the top deck of Pacific Aria to sister ship Pacific Eden on a cable stretched 40-metres high above the sea.

Adrenalin-loving guests can take part in the ultimate balancing act during select cruises in 2019 when the two ships are sailing alongside each other off the coast of New South Wales.

P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell said the launch of ‘Walk the Wire’ was aimed at Cruiselings with a sense of adventure and fun, particularly those who had conquered all of the activities at P&O’s signature adventure park at sea, The Edge, which includes walk the plank, a flying fox and funnel climb.

“Our many loyal guests have told us they’re looking for unique, high-energy experiences to make their cruise memorable and to capture that perfect holiday photo moment. So, we decided to give our fun-loving guests the ultimate onboard activity across two P&O ships,” said Mr. Myrmell.

“Walk the Wire is a result of many months of research and development where it was stress-tested by some of the best tight-rope walkers and aerial artists in the business and could be likened to Philippe Petit’s incredible wire walks in New York, Paris and Sydney. We’re expecting unrivalled demand for the experience and are encouraging guests to register their interest early.”

The new experience will be available for a select number of guests who pass preliminary tests. Interested participants can visit P&O Cruises’ Australia’s Facebook page and sign up to the Walk the Wire event to receive more information, including how to book.

Terms and conditions:
*Available on selected cruises in 2019 for a limited number of guests to be determined by P&O Cruises Australia. Successful applicants will be drawn by ballot and advised if successful one month prior to their cruise departure. All applicants must be fit and able to pass preliminary tests, and attend basic onboard training prior to any wire walking attempt. Safety harness will be provided. P&O Cruises reserves the right to cancel the wire walk at any time. This activity has been designed for Cruiselings with a sense of adventure & fun. Conditions apply.

April 1, 2018 ;-)

Carnival Cruise Line Takes Delivery of Carnival Horizon
In a traditional maritime handover ceremony held earlier today at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, Carnival Cruise Line officially took delivery of the new 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon, the 26th ship in its fleet.

The 3,954-passenger ship will reposition to Barcelona, Spain, where it will depart April 2 on an inaugural 13-day voyage – the first of four sailings from the European port. The ship will then operate a trans-Atlantic crossing before arriving in New York May 23, 2018, for a pierside overnight gala and naming ceremony featuring the ship's godmother, Grammy award-winning musical artist and acclaimed actress Queen Latifah.

Following a summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean sailings from New York, Carnival Horizon will shift to Miami for a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning Sept. 22, 2018.

Carnival Horizon offers several unique and exciting features, including a new Dr. Seuss-themed WaterWorks aqua park, part of the line's exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Bonsai Teppanyaki, the line's first teppanyaki venue, and Guy's Pig & Anchor Smokehouse|Brewhouse serving up "real deal" barbecue favorites created by Food Network star Guy Fieri, as well as four new craft beers brewed on board.

The second in the line's highly successful Vista-class, Carnival Horizon also offers fun innovations like the bike-ride-in-the-sky aerial attraction SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre, the Havana section with tropics-inspired staterooms and its own pool, and Family Harbor featuring extra-roomy accommodations and the Family Harbor Lounge. Like its name implies, Carnival Horizon also includes food and beverage outlets offering amazing views with both indoor and al fresco seating options at venues such as Bonsai Sushi, Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse and Library Bar.

"Carnival Horizon is an absolutely stunning ship offering so many ways to 'Choose Fun' both inside and out," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "In addition to the many exciting innovations previously introduced on Carnival Vista, Carnival Horizon offers some new one-of-a-kind features and attractions that make this ship truly special allowing our guests to create a lifetime of wonderful vacation memories," she added.

Seabourn's 2018 Alaska/British Columbia Season To Feature "Ventures By Seabourn"
Seabourn is putting immersive adventure at the forefront for its Alaska and British Columbia season this summer with an impressive offering of optional Ventures by Seabourn guided kayak, Zodiac, catamaran and hiking tours. From exploring Misty Fjords, Holgate Glacier and the Inian Islands by kayak or Zodiac, to hiking Mendenhall Glacier, Rainbow Falls and the Perseverance Trail, all Ventures by Seabourn excursions will be led by a skilled and knowledgeable Seabourn expedition team.

“The team includes experienced wilderness experts, scientists, historians and Zodiac operators. Ventures by Seabourn excursions are available for-charge, in select destinations and can be booked in advance by guests. In addition, the line is working with a number of tour operators in Alaska on hiking excursions, bringing an additional wealth of expertise and information on the region.

Guests can participate in up-close exploration of the majestic beauty and fascinating history and culture of America's Last Frontier. Ventures by Seabourn will be a highlight of more than a dozen 11-, 12- and 14-day itineraries sailed by Seabourn Sojourn from June to mid-October in 2018.

"We are very pleased to share our experienced and qualified team for our 2018 season in Alaska and British Columbia. The strength of this group is that we have a fantastic variety of academic passion, old-school experience and present-day local knowledge," said Robin West, director of Expedition Operations for Seabourn. "The team will not only join the guests on Ventures outings in the field such as guided hikes, Zodiac tours and kayak adventures, but will add to the onboard experience with complimentary lectures on their fields of expertise such as marine biology, geology, ornithology and history, and will be on hand to point out wildlife, join guests for dinner, and answer questions about the wild and pristine destination they have all come to love."

Members of the handpicked expedition team for the 2018 Alaska and British Columbia include:

• Juan Carlos Restrepo, Expedition Leader – With a passion for the great outdoors and adventure, Juan has explored all the continents and oceans of the world. He began his career in the expedition industry as a Dive Master on luxury yachts and then took his love for expedition to the Polar Regions.

• Chris Srigley, Expedition Leader – Chris spends up to nine months a year on expedition ships, including full seasons in Antarctica and the Arctic. Along with regular duties on the expedition team, he serves as a Polar Bear Guard, advancing landing parties and keeping a watchful eye while guests experience natural wonders around them.

• Nicki D'Souza, Assistant Expedition Leader – Nicki puts her years of experience and passion for travel to good use assisting guests with shore excursions all over the world. As an Expedition leader with many maiden calls to her name, she has led voyages along the West Coast of Africa, South America, Europe and Asia.

• Natasha Hanson, Assistant Expedition Leader / Lecturer – An avid outdoorswoman, Natasha has guided kayaking and hiking excursions in numerous remote areas of the world. As a general naturalist with over a decade of experience in the Polar Regions, she has shared her knowledge with guests of various expedition ships.

• Adam Jenkins, Assistant Expedition Leader / Lecturer – Adam has engaged in myriad adventures on the sea, including single-handedly sailing a 27-foot sloop down the Pacific Coast and back up the East Coast to Nova Scotia. He long ago developed a passion for leading expeditions and working with adventure travelers and scientists.

• Meredith Bass, Lecturer – After several years as a television news reporter at ABC, Meredith joined a Seabourn voyage to Antarctica and South America and found expedition travel to be the perfect platform for in-depth experiences exploring nature and culture.

• Jennifer Fought, Lecturer – Certified as a Zodiac operator at age nine, Jennifer quickly developed a passion for the natural world and spent her younger years camping, canoeing and riding horses. With a graduate degree in Structural Geology, she has conducted research from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico to the glaciers of Greenland.

• Lisa Baldwin, Lecturer – Extremely passionate about the ocean, Lisa is a competitive ocean swimmer, free diver, naturalist and avid traveler who enjoys educating others about the natural environment. Her extensive work as a field biologist and passion for health research gives her a unique ability to be open, friendly and relate to guests on all levels.

• Will Wagstaff, Lecturer – A birder since age five, Will has run his own business leading wildlife walks around the Isles of Scilly, a famous birding area to the southwest of Cornwall, UK. During the off-season, he leads wildlife holidays to other parts of the world and has worked on expedition cruise ships in the Arctic and Antarctica.

• Brent Houston, Lecturer – Brent's involvement in wildlife research and polar expedition travel for over 30 years has taken him on over 450 expeditions visiting 100 countries. Among many accomplishments, in 1995 he sailed with the British Royal Navy using helicopters to photograph and document every known penguin colony along the Antarctic Peninsula, discovering two colonies and several landing sites for tourists.

• Joe Cockram, Lecturer – A birdwatcher since childhood, Joe has a particular interest in seabirds. He has worked on some of Northern Europe's most important nesting colonies and has traveled extensively. His career as a shipboard ornithologist combines his passions as he shares his knowledge to help others experience the incredible varieties of species found around the world.

• Captain Al Barnard, Zodiac Operator / Naturalist – Alaska-born, Barnard has spent a lifetime working and exploring the waters of Puget Sound, South East Alaska, the Yukon River and Yukon Territory. He has been a member of the Sea Scouts of the Boy Scouts of America since 1957, and currently volunteers as Commodore of Western Region 1, which includes Alaska.

• Bill Fletcher, Zodiac Operator / Naturalist – A summer job guiding in Alaska sparked Bill's passion for sharing the wonders of the world. He is currently Senior Director of Destination Marketing at Holland America Line, Seabourn's sister cruise line, tasked with telling compelling stories of the many places its ships visit around the world.

• Ross Ellingwood, Zodiac Operator / Naturalist – Ross's love of adventure has had a hold on him since college. In 2016, he spent six months building a wooden rowing boat in his garage, and then took it on a three-month, 1,100-mile exploration of the Inside Passage Waters. His career has seen him guiding sea-kayaking trips and ice climbing in Alaska.

Additional team members will join select sailings periodically throughout the 2018 season.

Take A Walk On The Wild Side WIth Celebrity Cruises
Scale a volcano, race a yacht, or explore the rainforest as part of Celebrity Cruises’ new range of exciting world-opening experiences designed in collaboration with world-renowned adventurer Ben Fogle. The new excursions are an expansion of the top-rated Ben Fogle’s Great Adventures excursion series currently offered in Europe.

Ben Fogle’s Great Adventures program enables guests to explore destinations through the eyes of a local; they can experience culture, history, famous sights, wildlife and adventure at ports of calls throughout Europe, and now the Caribbean and Alaska as well.

“No one understands adventure quite like Ben Fogle, and that’s why we are further expanding our guest-favorite Ben Fogle’s Great Adventures program from nine tours to 20 tours around the world,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “Destination is a pillar of our brand and these tours will build on that while also expanding our award-winning shore excursion portfolio, taking guests to new heights – from the peak of a dormant volcano in the Caribbean to the glistening glaciers of Alaska – and opening their world like never before.”

Recently appointed Celebrity Cruises Global Destination Ambassador, Fogle has designed these new exhilarating journeys across the Caribbean and Alaska for the first time, as well as new additions in Europe.

"I'm so excited to share some of my favorite destinations as part of the new series of Great Adventures,” said Ben Fogle, Celebrity Cruises’ Global Destination Ambassador. “My new role as Global Destination Ambassador allows me to indulge my shared passion with Celebrity Cruises of opening up the world with incredible experiences. Some are not for the faint-hearted, such as climbing a volcano to its peak 3,792 feet above sea level, but the rainforest sights and sounds on the way up and views at the top are well worth the ascent."

Fogle’s global travels have been the inspiration of these 11 new and inspiring activities, added to the Ben Fogle’s Great Adventures program, in some of the planet’s most awe-inspiring locales, including:

• Ocean Yacht Racing in Antigua – Indulge that competitive spirit and set sail getting as hands-on as guests want – work the winches, trim the main sail or even take the helm and steer the yacht to victory. Or they can simply sit back and enjoy the incredible views and soak up the sun.

• Mount Liamuiga Volcano Hike in St. Kitts – Climb to lofty new heights and ascend through the tropical rainforest, enjoying the incredible flora and fauna to the rim of the dormant volcano’s crater. Once at the peak enjoy the reward of stunning panoramic views, even over to neighboring islands on a clear day.

• Icy Strait Point Kayak Adventure in Alaska – Become immersed in nature and paddle among the raw beauty of the Alaskan wilderness. Explore remote bays and spot the local wildlife including sea lions, eagles and even brown bears on the shore.

The new Great Adventures designed in collaboration with Ben Fogle are now open for booking

Royal Caribbean Entertainment Shoots For The Stars On Symphony of the Seas
Royal Caribbean International continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible in entertainment with the debut of cutting-edge productions on stage, in the air, under water and on ice on board Symphony of the Seas. Headlining the playbill will be the all-new show ‘Flight: Dare to Dream,’ a one-of-a-kind journey through the past, present and future of air travel and space exploration that will make history as one of the most ambitious stage productions to date. Guests take off on a spectacular adventure through time, chronicling key milestones in aeronautics, beginning with the first leisure voyage to Mars and ending with a stunning homage to the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk.

A Royal Caribbean Productions original, ‘Flight: Dare to Dream’ introduces cutting-edge 3D flying technology, video and automation to the 1,401-seat Royal Theater. Going where no stage has gone before, space and zero gravity will be simulated as actors “float” within a detailed replica of the International Space Station (ISS). The first theater set piece of its kind, the detailed design of Royal Caribbean’s ISS was informed by Astronaut Clayton C. Anderson, who lived 167 days in space and completed 38 hours and 28 minutes over 6 spacewalks in two separate missions.

“I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to relive my five months aboard the International Space Station for this out-of-this-world Royal Caribbean production,” said Clayton C. Anderson, U.S. astronaut, author & speaker. “I worked with Royal Caribbean to ensure the show’s zero gravity simulation, and appearance of the ISS replica were as true to life as possible to further enhance the show’s wow factor.”

Royal Caribbean Productions is the first team to consult with an astronaut that lived in space for a live theatrical production. Complex, high-impact choreography and production also take form in 3D flying with a custom built recreation of the Wright Flyer that will take off into the house; the set piece will have a 22 foot wingspan and single seat “cockpit.”

“We continue to push the envelope with high-tech, immersive entertainment at Royal Caribbean, and we couldn’t be prouder with how ‘Flight: Dare to Dream’ has brought to life the awe and wonder of flying,” said Nick Weir, Vice President, Entertainment, Royal Caribbean International. “Guests from 5 to 95 years old will not believe their eyes, as all our shows onboard Symphony of the Seas capture their imagination and create jaw-dropping I-can’t-believe-that-just-happened moments they won’t soon forget.”

Three additional headline shows across three distinct stage venues on Symphony of the Seas, include:

• 1977 in Studio B is the continuation to “1877,” the ice-skating show introduced on sister-ship Harmony of the Seas, featuring the time-traveling hero, Tempus. In his latest adventure, Tempus heads to London where a mysterious jewel thief with special powers has stolen the Queen’s crown jewels on the eve of her Silver Jubilee. Timing is everything in this imaginative original ice show, featuring high-tech projection mapping images that bring the ‘70s to life on the ice.

• Hairspray, a guest favorite, gets a makeover for Symphony of the Seas with new choreography and staging of the Tony Award- winning musical. The larger-than-life, Royal Caribbean Productions’ original introduces revolutionary set design, taking the story of loveable teen Tracy Turnblad in 1960s Baltimore, to the next level.

• HiRO raises the bar on Royal Caribbean’s aqua shows with more high flying feats, unexpected stunts and extraordinary acrobatics than ever before. Brought to life by the world’s best extreme-sport athletes, HiRO pushes the limits of a theatrical production at sea with cutting-edge technology and choreography and. No two shows are the same, making it worth seeing twice. The show features 3D flying technology used by aerialists as they literally soar above the crowd, plus acrobats and professional divers.

Cutting-Edge Entertainment Venues on Symphony

• The AquaTheater on Symphony of the Seas is the distinct high diving, acrobatic performance space found only on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class of ships, featuring an open-air amphitheater overlooking the ocean and a performance pool – the deepest at seas – with hydraulic lifts and 10-meter diving platforms.

• Ice shows at Studio B pair world-class skaters performing extraordinary skills against stunning multimedia visuals and audio. Guests watch as the surface of the ice rink transforms before their very eyes, blending fantasy with reality.

• The Royal Theater is a spectacular, state-of-the-art space seating 1,380 guests, and enlisting cutting-edge technology to create a performance environment that is enthralling and immersive.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 64.62 - 1.79%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 116.26 - 3.05
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.44 - 0.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 51.97 - 0.90%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
American Export Lines operated a quartet of popular combination ships following the Second World War. The ships were known as the "Four Aces". What were the names of these ships?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Few ocean liners or cruise ships end up preserved like the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. Most end up in very different circumstances. Whatever happened to Cunard's famous Caronia of 1948?

Answer - Caronia was sold to Panamanian interests in 1968 and briefly renamed "Columbia," before going on charter to Caribbean Cruise Line as "Caribia". She was barely back in service when a fire broke out in her engine room, forcing her withdraw after only 2 cruises. Repairs proved to costly, and Caribia was laid up in New York in 1969. Over the course of the next several years she was towed from pier to pier around New York harbor, at one point receiving a "parking ticket" for illegal docking. Eventually, her fittings and furnishings were auctioned off, and she was sold to scrappers in Taiwan. Upon encountering heavy winds in the Western Pacific, the tow ropes broke and Caribia beached on Guam and broke up in 1974. Her remains were later scrapped on the spot.
courtesy of Rob Scafidi


Cruise News - March 26, 2018

Royal Caribbean Welcomes Symphony of the Seas
Thirty-six months, 4,700 shipbuilders and crew, and one common goal: to deliver the ultimate family adventure. Royal Caribbean International honored the project team of Symphony of the Seas during the delivery event at STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France today. Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Laurent Castaing, General Manager of STX France, led the traditional flag-changing ceremony, which symbolizes the ship’s official delivery from the ship builder to Royal Caribbean. The maritime ritual was followed by a celebration of the industry’s best, the crew whose hard work and meticulous collaboration came together to create the world’s largest cruise ship.

“Symphony of the Seas is the latest example of how our people work to push the envelope of innovation with each new ship,” said Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain. “The Oasis Class has been a trend-setting design, but the team has evolved the design to build on that success to provide even more incredible family adventures. We’re thankful to have a partner in STX France that is every bit as ambitious as we are about building technologically advanced ships.”

“It is a proud and exhilarating moment to welcome a new member to the family. Thanks to our stellar crew and partners at STX France, we now are ready to embark on this new boundless adventure that comes to life on Symphony of the Seas,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Symphony will take family vacationing to an all new level with energy and options never before found in one place. This ship is the perfect blend of our greatest hits we know guests love and a lineup of vibrant, new restaurants, activities and unparalleled entertainment – all purposefully designed around vacationers’ preferences.”

“Today is a day of pride for me, all STX France and sub-contractor teams as we hand over Symphony of the Seas to her owner as the largest cruise ship ever built,” said Laurent Castaing, General Manager of STX France. “Symphony will leave Saint-Nazaire yard as the ultimate example of our progress-driven spirit and commitment to innovation, which are at the heart of our partnership with Royal Caribbean, who is always challenging us in this direction.”

The 25th ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, Symphony of the Seas is 228,081 gross registered tons, measures 238 feet tall and spans 1,188 feet long. She will welcome 5,518 guests at double occupancy in 2,759 staterooms, including 28 additional balcony rooms that overlook the ocean or signature Boardwalk neighborhood. One Oasis Class ship, seven distinctive neighborhoods, the tallest slide at sea with the Ultimate Abyss and countless adventures for guests of all ages, the family adventure of a lifetime has surprises at every turn:

New Culinary Adventures

• Hooked Seafood: This upscale eatery atop of the world’s largest cruise ship in the Solarium serves up the real taste of New England-inspired seafood and unparalleled ocean vistas to match. Approachable and unassuming, the menu offers classic coastal favorites, such as lobster rolls, crab claws, signature fish sandwich, and a raw bar where oysters are shucked to order.

• Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade: Stretching the length of a reimagined Boardwalk, now touting fresh energy and swagger, the whole family can watch the home team play across 31 big-screen TVs, during the day and into the late night. The indoor and outdoor arcade, packed with over 20 games, offers the opportunity for friendly competition. The on-point menu of classic American bar food features everything from wings, burgers and popcorn shrimp to picture-perfect sundaes; as well as craft beers and cocktails.

• El Loco Fresh: Made-to-order tacos and burritos wrapped with fresh tortillas are among the Mexican “street food” favorites that will hit the spot for adventure seekers looking to fuel up with minimal downtime.

• Sugar Beach: The signature candy and ice cream shop is the sweet spot on the Boardwalk with more than 100 types of candies, a lineup of ice cream flavors and even DIY activities for the aspiring culinary artist.

New Ways to Play

• Battle for Planet Z: Royal Caribbean’s first glow-in-the-dark laser tag game brings two teams of eight head to head in an out-of-this-world adventure to determine who will claim the last planet in the galaxy.

• Escape the Rubicon: In the ultimate race against the clock, friends old and new must band together in the Rubicon submarine – a sophisticated, custom-built escape room – to solve a collection of puzzles before time runs out.

Unparalleled Family Accommodations

• Ultimate Family Suite: A two-level, 1,346-square-foot suite filled with awesome thrills offers more than enough room for the whole family – and friends – to come together and catch up on “me time.” Features include an in-room slide, a private cinema with an 85-inch HD TV, a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall, a 212-square-foot balcony complete with table tennis and a full-size whirlpool. Complete with a Royal Genie, who caters to every whim, there are many more surprises awaiting guests along the way.

Symphony of the Seas will welcome her first guests on Saturday, March 31 for a one-time-only, 5-night preview sailing, calling on Naples and Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy.

The ship’s maiden 7-night Mediterranean voyage departs Saturday, April 7 from Barcelona, Spain, where the crescendo of thrills will be brought to life by the 2,200 international crew members who proudly represent 77 countries around the world. Symphony of the Seas will homeport in Barcelona for the summer, visiting Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; and Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples, Italy. Beginning Nov. 10, Miami, FL. will become the ship’s year-round homeport, making Symphony of the Seas the first new Oasis Class ship to sail from the cruise capital of the world using Royal Caribbean’s new state-of-the-art Terminal A. The 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises will call on Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s newly revealed destination in the Bahamas.

Carnival Paradise Returns To Service Following Multi-Million-Dollar Makeover
Carnival Paradise returns to year-round cruise service today from Port Tampa Bay following an extensive month-long dry dock that added a variety of spaces and innovations, including a spectacular water park, 38 new staterooms, 98 balconies added to existing accommodations, and an array of exciting food and beverage concepts.

Carnival Paradise departs this afternoon on a five-day Caribbean cruise to Cozumel and Grand Cayman – part of the ship's year-round sailings from Tampa that also include four-day cruises to Cozumel and five-day cruises to Cozumel and Mahogany Bay (Roatan), Key West or Grand Cayman. The ship also offers four- to eight-day cruises to Cuba featuring day-long and overnight calls in Havana, as well as visits to popular ports throughout the Caribbean.

"We can't wait for our guests to check out the fantastic new features aboard Carnival Paradise, which returns to service better than ever offering an exciting combination of itineraries featuring top destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico and Cuba," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

The new features added during dry dock include:

• Guy's Burger Joint: a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef's California roots and love of car culture.

• RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside watering hole offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival's own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.

• BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.

• BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin' by the pool.

• Camp Ocean: a colorful marine-inspired play area designed for kids ages 2-11 that showcases the wonders of the sea through engaging interiors and more than 200 ocean-themed activities and science-oriented programming.

• Circle "C": designed for the 12- to 14-year-old set, this colorful space offers the perfect space for kids to chill and connect as well as enjoy dance parties, video games and more.

• New Staterooms and Enhancements: Thirty-eight staterooms have been added – two Grand Vista suites offering floor-to-ceiling windows, 22 junior suites, two scenic oceanview and 12 interior accommodations. Private verandahs have also been added to 98 existing accommodations, creating spacious new 230-square-foot balcony staterooms. All staterooms offer new island-inspired interiors with bright colors and soothing pastels inspired by the ship's tropical itineraries.

• WaterWorks Aqua Park: Located on Verandah Deck, this expansive all-ages water park features an enclosed 300-foot-long Twister water slide full of exhilarating twists and turns, two 82-foot-long racing slides, and a kiddie splash zone.

• Miniature Golf Course: A nine-hole miniature golf course has been relocated to Deck 14, providing a fun and relaxing pastime for families to enjoy in the fresh sea air.

• Retail and Photo Enhancements: The retail shops have been completely reimagined with a new design and enhanced product offerings with multiple branded boutiques, including Pandora and Guess. The printed photo gallery has been replaced with a digital Pixels-branded platform that allows guests to identify and purchase images via their smartphones or at a nearby kiosk.

In addition to Carnival Paradise's short cruise program, Carnival's Tampa-based offerings include Carnival Miracle's year-round six- and seven-day cruises visiting beautiful ports throughout the western Caribbean, as well as eight-day voyages that include a partial transit of the Panama Canal.

Princess Cruises Unveils New Features and Upgrades Onboard Sapphire Princess
Sapphire Princess emerged today from an extensive two-week dry dock in Singapore proudly displaying Princess Cruises' signature logo on her bow. The ship has been upgraded with enhanced onboard spaces and product innovations keeping her one of the most desired ships in the fleet.

Finishing up a season cruising throughout Asia, Sapphire Princess departs today on a 28-day voyage from Singapore to London, before beginning European voyages to sought-after destinations in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe including Monte Carlo, Lisbon, Brussels, St. Petersburg and an opportunity to cruise the Norwegian Fjords during Summer Solstice.

"Sapphire Princess is the latest ship to debut many of the signature offerings we know our guests value, enjoy and look forward to experiencing when they travel the world with Princess," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "This investment continues our $450 million 'Come Back New Promise,' a multi-year ship renovation campaign," added Swartz.

New and enhanced offerings aboard Sapphire Princess include:

New Ship Livery – Sapphire Princess is the latest ship to receive the elegant livery design featuring the iconic Princess Cruises logo, one of the most recognized brand logos in cruising. The design features the smooth and flowing gracefulness of ocean waves and represents the excitement and adventure of discovering the great destinations of the world aboard a Princess cruise.

Princess Luxury Bed – available in every stateroom aboard Sapphire Princess by June 2018, the Princess Luxury Bed was developed by Princess Cruises in collaboration with board-certified sleep expert, Dr. Michael Breus and renowned HGTV designer Candice Olson.

The bed offers the ultimate night of sleep at sea combining the science of sleep with the pinnacle of design and recently received the highest ranking for "Best Cruise Ships Beds" by Cruise Critic.

Club Class Mini-Suites – Sapphire Princess offers Club Class Mini-Suites, the new premium stateroom category featuring VIP amenities and exclusive dining. This elevated mini-suite category features select perks including new Club Class Dining, a reserved dining area with expedited seating and expanded menu options as well as priority embarkation and disembarkation.

Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Center – for cruisers ages 3-17, Sapphire Princess now offers a reimagined youth center – Camp Discovery – created in partnership with Discovery Consumer Products, the licensing arm of Discovery, as part of the cruise line's Discovery at SEA program. Catering to specific age groups, kids and teens can make new friends and participate in activities specially designed to help them discover, play, create and huddle.

Entertainment LED Wall – located in the Princess Theater, this new LED wall will be used in produced production shows and various onboard guest entertainer shows. The high quality, technologically advanced wall is made up of 270 panels installed on a custom engineered and shock mounted frame for display of still images, video and live feeds.

"Bravo" – launching in May 2018, this elegant show featured on formal night is one of the highest-rated shows across the fleet. This "Popra-" inspired show features a mix of pop, opera and musical theater performed by a guest soprano in front of a live orchestra.

Enhanced Boutiques – guests enjoy aesthetic enhancements to the Shops of Princess, offering an upgraded shopping experience, such as a branded Effy Fine Jewelry boutique. There will also be new products to choose from featuring a collection of Princess branded athletic wear and logo apparel displayed in a newly designed Logo shop.

Lotus Spa & Fitness Center – a space where guests can relax and invigorate, salon and treatments rooms have been upgraded and the latest in fitness equipment is now available.

Further general refurnishing and technical updates have also been implemented aboard Sapphire Princess.

Carnival Corporation & plc Reports Record First Quarter Earnings
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) announced U.S. GAAP net income of $391 million, or $0.54 diluted EPS, for the first quarter of 2018, higher than U.S. GAAP net income for the first quarter of 2017 of $352 million, or $0.48 diluted EPS. First quarter 2018 adjusted net income of $375 million, or $0.52 adjusted EPS, was higher than adjusted net income of $279 million, or $0.38 adjusted EPS, for the first quarter of 2017. Adjusted net income excludes unrealized gains and losses on fuel derivatives and other net charges, totaling $16 million in net gains for the first quarter of 2018 and $73 million in net gains for the first quarter of 2017. Revenues for the first quarter of 2018 of $4.2 billion were higher than the $3.8 billion in the prior year.

Carnival Corporation & plc President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald stated, "We are off to a strong start to the year achieving another quarter of record earnings on record revenues and exceeding the high end of guidance. This strong operational execution affirms our efforts to create demand in excess of measured capacity growth and exceed guest expectations once onboard. Our guest experience efforts, coupled with our ongoing marketing and public relations programs are clearly accelerating cruise demand across the board to drive cruise ticket prices higher."

Key information for the first quarter 2018 compared to the prior year:

• Gross revenue yields (revenue per available lower berth day or "ALBD") increased 9.2 percent. In constant currency, net revenue yields increased 3.9 percent for 1Q 2018, better than December guidance of up 1.5 to 2.5 percent.

• Gross cruise costs including fuel per ALBD increased 9.0 percent. In constant currency, net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD increased 1.0 percent, better than December guidance of up 2.0 to 3.0 percent, principally due to the timing of expenses between quarters.

• Changes in fuel prices (including realized fuel derivatives) decreased earnings by $0.04 per share, offset by an increase in earnings due to changes in currency exchange rates of $0.04 per share.

Highlights from the first quarter include the signing of agreements with German shipbuilder Meyer Werft GmbH to build two new cruise ships that will be powered by liquefied natural gas ("LNG"). The first is designated for P&O Cruises (UK) to be delivered in 2022 with the second for AIDA Cruises in 2023. Also during the quarter, we continued to drive demand and cruise awareness with successful new marketing efforts: Carnival Cruise Line appointed Shaquille O'Neal as their new "CFO," Chief Fun Officer; Cunard hosted the world premiere of "The Greatest Showman," broadcasting the red carpet event live on Flagship Queen Mary 2; Costa Cruises launched a new international ad campaign featuring Shakira that will be aired in Southern Europe and P&O Cruises launched a new marketing campaign featuring UK celebrity Rob Brydon. Additionally, we launched the new prime time series La Gran Sorpresa on Univision and extended our original TV programming to Telemundo, which will now be featuring our popular Ocean Originals TV program, "The Voyager with Josh Garcia."

2018 Outlook PAt this time, cumulative advanced bookings for the remainder of 2018 are in line with the prior year at higher prices. Since January, booking volumes for all future periods have been running ahead of prior year at higher prices.

Donald added, "The booking strength achieved during this year's wave season, outpacing even last year's record levels, demonstrates sustained strong demand for our world's leading cruise brands and delivers further confidence in our raised earnings guidance. We remain on track to achieve double-digit return on invested capital while continuing to return cash to shareholders through ongoing share repurchases and dividend growth." The company invested more than $250 million in share repurchases since the beginning of the quarter, bringing the cumulative total of repurchases to date to over $3.4 billion since late 2015.

Based on current booking trends, Carnival said that full year 2018 net revenue yields in constant currency to be up approximately 2.5 percent compared to the prior year, in line with December guidance. The company expects full year net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency compared to the prior year to be up approximately 1.0 percent, also in line with December guidance. Changes in fuel prices (including realized fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates are expected to increase earnings by 0.10 per share compared to December guidance.

Taking the above factors into consideration, Carnival said that it expects full year 2018 adjusted earnings per share to be in the range of $4.20 to $4.40 compared to December guidance of $4.00 to $4.30 and 2017 adjusted earnings per share of $3.82.

Second Quarter 2018 Outlook

Second quarter constant currency net revenue yields are expected to be up approximately 2.5 to 3.5 percent compared to the prior year. Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency for the second quarter of 2018 are expected to increase by approximately 4.0 to 5.0 percent compared to the prior year. Based on the above factors, the company expects adjusted earnings per share for the second quarter 2018 to be in the range of $0.56 to $0.60 versus 2017 adjusted earnings per share of $0.52.

Reservations Now Open For New Carnival Panorama's Year-Round Departures From Long Beach
Carnival Cruise Line today began accepting reservations for the 133,500-ton Carnival Panorama, which kicks off its year-round seven-day Mexican Riviera schedule from Long Beach, Calif., Dec. 14, 2019, becoming the first new Carnival ship homeported on the West Coast in 20 years.

Prior to the launch of seven-day service, Carnival Panorama will offer a special one-time three-day cruise to Ensenada from Long Beach Dec. 11-14, 2019.

Carnival Panorama will offer a three-port, seven-day itinerary from Long Beach, departing every Saturday to stunning destinations along the Mexican Riviera, including Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta. During these cruises, guests can relax on world-class beaches, visit centuries-old historical sites, and enjoy unforgettable dining and shopping opportunities and exciting experiences ashore.

"Carnival Panorama promises to be a spectacular addition to our fleet and we're delighted to provide our guests with an opportunity to be among the first to sail on our first new ship on the West Coast in two decades," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

Voyages will depart from the newly refurbished Long Beach Cruise Terminal, housed in a massive 146,000-square-foot geodesic dome that once housed Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose airplane. The expanded facility offers a streamlined embarkation and debarkation process along with stunning design elements that pay homage to the Golden State, including a mural of the Sierra Nevada mountains and replicas of the Spruce Goose.

Currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, Carnival Panorama will offer groundbreaking attractions like a bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, a massive WaterWorks aqua park, and the SportSquare open-air recreation area, along with a vibrant Havana section with tropics-inspired staterooms and its own Cuban-themed bar and pool, Family Harbor featuring extra-roomy accommodations and the luxurious Cloud 9 Spa. Like its name implies, Carnival Panorama will also offer both indoor and al fresco food and beverage concepts, including the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Library Bar, and Bonsai Sushi.

Princess Introducing New Immersive Cultural Experiences
Beginning this summer, Princess Cruises guests sailing to the colorful Caribbean will experience a new immersive cultural experience with the"Rhythm of the Caribbean," offering an authentic dive into island life. From the moment guests step aboard their Caribbean cruise, they will be swept away in the lively spirit of the islands with enticing cuisine, signature cocktails, exhilarating entertainment, enrichment and authentic regional experiences.

"We passionately opened our hearts and minds to the diverse local experiences to design 'Rhythm of the Caribbean' ultimately allowing our guests to be inspired by the wonders of the Caribbean and instill a passion for discovering new cultures and destinations," said Rai Caluori, Princess Cruises executive vice president of guest experience and product development.

Guests can also take advantage of insider tips on must-do excursions at each port, dance beneath the stars to vibrant Caribbean rhythms and immerse themselves in one-of-a-kind cultural activities – from concerts to crafts, to enthralling presentations from local experts like shark and treasure hunters.

"Rhythm of the Caribbean" launches aboard Caribbean Princess in May 2018 and is scheduled to roll out to additional ships for the upcoming fall/winter Caribbean season. Offerings include:

• Caribbean Festival – presented in association with Princess Cruises' "Festivals of the World," the spirit of the Caribbean comes to life onboard as guests celebrate the local sights, sounds, and vibrant energy of the tropical islands with themed parties, enriching activities and lively musical performances.

• Authentic Island Cuisine - savor the diverse fusion of flavors drawn from the Caribbean's coasts, with dishes like Jamaican jerk chicken, delicious red snapper, creole black mussels, Puerto Rican mofongo, pineapple crème brulée and more.

• Colorful Caribbean Cocktails - from rum punch to tropical coolers, colorful coladas, refreshing mojitos and more, Princess Cruises is planning to combine the history of the region with locally inspired ingredients to create not just a Caribbean cocktail, but an adventure in a glass. Guests can even indulge in a regional rum tasting.

• Party Like a Local -sail away with an exciting high-energy party hosted poolside on the top deck – complete with live music, thrilling performers and lush cocktails. Or spend a night dancing under the vast Caribbean-starred sky at the Terrace Pool Gold Party – inspired by the tales of treasure-laden pirate ships and sunken gold.

• Parrots in the Piazza - meet local parrots and macaws up close and personal in the ship's Atrium while learning fun and interesting facts about their habits and habitat.

• Indoor Planetarium Experience - Princess Cruises and Discovery at SEA invite guests on a voyage to the stars. Venture into the night sky and view constellations, the moon, planets and spectacular galaxies from the Caribbean night sky.

• Stories from Deep Sea Explorers - meet real life treasure and shipwreck hunters onboard as they share first-hand tales of their incredible adventures exploring the Caribbean by boat, investigating legends of lost treasure and recovery operations. Or gain a greater understanding about the fascinating lives of the feared, yet highly misunderstood, apex predators of the sea during an onboard encounter from a real-life shark diver, Martin Graff (on select voyages).

• Pirate-Themed Activities - young landlubbers will enjoy some swashbucklin' fun as they learn how to talk like a pirate, dress like a pirate, and even dance like a pirate during a themed party for the whole family.

Princess sails year-round to the Caribbean, with a variety of cruises roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 65.80 - 2.71%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 119.92 - 3.62
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.44 - 3.36%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 52.44 - 5.38%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Few ocean liners or cruise ships end up preserved like the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. Most end up in very different circumstances. Whatever happened to Cunard's famous Caronia of 1948?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Passengers in the top cabins aboard QE2 used to eat in the Queens Grill Restaurant. It wasn't always that way. What was the space occupied by the Queen's Grill called when QE2 first entered service?

Answer - When the QE2 first entered service the area now occupied by the queen's Grill was called the 736 Club..it was a bar by day and a club by night. This room was also to be Juliana's Discotheque and after that the casino. This room became the queen's Grill in 1972 when the first set of penthouses were added.
courtesy of Timothy Edgecomb


Cruise News - March 19, 2018

Seabourn Ovation Completes Final Sea Trials
Seabourn's newest vessel, Seabourn Ovation, achieved another important maritime milestone with the completion of its final round of sea trials in the Mediterranean off the coast of Italy.

Seabourn Ovation departed the Fincantieri shipyard on March 14 for four days at sea, where a team of officers and engineers tested the ship's technical and mechanical systems. Seabourn Ovation returned to the shipyard in Genoa on March 18, and staff and workers are putting the final touches on the ship. The delivery ceremony of the ship is on schedule to take place on April 27, 2018.

"We're now weeks away from delivery, and I'm very pleased with the progress and preparedness of the ship now that sea trials are complete," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "Our first revenue guests will board on May 5, and I know they will be excited to see this newest addition to the Seabourn fleet."

Seabourn Ovation will begin her maiden season with an 11-day inaugural voyage departing May 5, 2018, from Venice, Italy, to Barcelona, Spain. The ship's naming ceremony will take place on Friday, May 11, in the beautiful baroque harbour of Valletta, Malta. One of the world's highly-acclaimed actresses and singers, Elaine Paige, will serve as godmother and will name the ship during a spectacular ceremony that will light up the dramatic UNESCO World Heritage site and the 2018 European Capital of Culture.

The ship will spend the majority of its maiden season cruising the waters of Northern Europe, offering a series of seven-day Baltic and Scandinavian sailings between Copenhagen and Stockholm, which will include the line's signature three-day stay in St. Petersburg, Russia. Seabourn Ovation will also sail on longer 14-day voyages, visiting the majestic Norwegian fjords and British Isles.

Seabourn Ovation is the fifth ultra-luxury ship in the Seabourn fleet. With stunning contemporary interiors by design icon Adam D. Tihany, culinary expertise by Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller, specially commissioned entertainment by Sir Tim Rice and an exciting program of onboard speakers, Ovation will sail on a variety of voyages in and around Europe between May and November 2018, hailing at ports throughout Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

Ctrip, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to end SkySea Joint Venture
Ctrip.com International, Ltd. and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced today that they are ending the SkySea Cruise Line joint venture ("SkySea") in the autumn of 2018. TUI AG's Marella Cruises has agreed to purchase Golden Era, with delivery expected in December 2018, subject to satisfaction of closing conditions. Ctrip and RCL currently each own a minority of SkySea, with the balance owned by SkySea management and a private equity fund.

SkySea Cruise Line, the first smart contemporary cruise line specifically developed for the Chinese market, has been operating SkySea Golden Era since May 2015. By the time of the final voyage, SkySea Cruise Line will have operated close to 300 cruises and carried nearly 500,000 guests in just over three years.

SkySea Cruise Line will continue operations with the final voyage to be confirmed in the coming weeks. During this time, the brand is committed to delivering the same outstanding cruise vacations to its guests and support to its travel agent partners and vendors as it has since its inception. SkySea's final China season will offer exciting theme cruises and truly memorable experiences for Golden Era vacationers.

The cruise market in China is still in early stages but holds big potential. In 2017, there were less than 3 million cruise passengers in China, which is much less than the over 10 million passengers for the US market. The cruise business on Ctrip group's platforms generated over 70% revenue growth year-over-year in 2017. The cruise business will continue to be an essential part of Ctrip's one-stop platform and the company will continue to work closely with all the cruise lines in the world, including Royal Caribbean, to better service the growing number of Chinese cruise travelers.

Through its Royal Caribbean International brand, RCL will continue to serve the Chinese market, with the largest fleet deployment in the region and a strong collaborative relationship with Ctrip.

Royal Caribbean Investging $900 Million In Fleet Upgrades
Royal Caribbean International is amping up vacation adventures by reimagining its fleet with a $900 million investment. The Royal Amplified program spans 10 ships in four years, and touches every facet of the guest experience on a lineup of the world’s most highly regarded and award-winning ships, including Oasis and Allure of the Seas, as well as all Freedom and Voyager Class ships. The program is set to introduce a wide range of innovative features and bold new experiences that will further build on Royal Caribbean’s best-in-class global vacation offering.

In developing Royal Amplified, the global cruise line analyzed multiple years of guest satisfaction ratings, venue utilization data and crew interviews to focus the major investment on key features and experiences that matter most to travelers. Full details on each ship’s new amenities will be revealed on a continuous basis in the next three years.

“Royal Amplified is built on our passion for innovation, relentless attention to detail and commitment to always exceeding our guests’ expectations,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “We sail with more than five million guests worldwide each year, and recognize the need to always innovate and stay ahead of the curve. We have designed this program to wow our loyal guests while also attracting the next generation of adventurers.”

Iconic Pools and Attractions
With Royal Amplified, outside decks will be reimagined for thrill seekers to discover everything they want under the sun and beneath the stars. From pools specifically designed for family fun and relaxing spa-like environments, to lively activities day and night, more specialized pool spaces will catering to diverse preferences. Upper decks will be amped up and evolved with exciting new attractions and first-of-its-kind thrills such as Sky Pad, a virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience along with waterslides, and waterparks.

Elevated Dining and Nightlife
Guests crave cornerstone cuisines, like Italian, seafood and Mexican, and Royal Caribbean will deliver on that with the introduction of more experiential dining concepts. Travelers also will see more of the cruise line’s recently unveiled experiences, including Hooked Seafood, Royal Caribbean’s New England-style restaurant; Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, and family-friendly El Loco Fresh with popular Mexican fare. Additional casual, grab-and-go eateries to keep guests fueled between their adventures will also make their debut.

What’s more, adventurers will have the opportunity to drink, clink and live it up in distinct new bars and nightlife spots that deliver on the three tenets of a great night out: unique drinks, delicious food and live entertainment. This makes for more multidimensional nightlife venues offering food, live music and craft cocktails, like The Bamboo Room, and a signature outdoor Caribbean Bar. Other new concepts include a world-class music hall, a go-to spot for karaoke, and a lounge-style nightclub that will take the nightlife to a whole new level.

Redefined Short Caribbean Getaways
Royal Caribbean believes that vacations should provide maximum levels of adventure no matter how long or short. With quick getaways becoming increasingly popular and necessary for today’s traveler, the cruise line will ensure that its 3- and 4-night cruises are just as exceptional as longer escapes. With the Royal Amplified focus on innovative attractions, iconic pools, distinct bars and dining, guests can enjoy an ample variety of options and features that will allow them to escape from their routine and redefine their weekends.

Royal Caribbean is not only amping up the adventure on its ships with the Royal Amplified program. The cruise line is also set to raise the bar in vacation adventures on land with the introduction of its Perfect Day Island Collection of unrivaled private island destinations around the world. The first in the collection, Perfect Day at CocoCay, Bahamas, scheduled for completion in fall 2019, will offer the ultimate in thrill and chill with a number of distinct experiences and iconic features giving guests first-time experiences that will top any bucket list. Four Royal Caribbean ships in the Royal Amplified program, departing from New York, Maryland and Florida, will call at Perfect Day at CocoCay, Bahamas, providing guests with a vacation like no other in the Caribbean.

A Look Ahead at Royal Amplified

• Freedom Class – Independence of the Seas will be the first ship in the Royal Amplified program to reveal multimillion-dollar upgrades, including Sky Pad, Battle for Planet Z, a glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience; The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides and a new Escape Room: The Observatorium challenge, where competitors can solve a series of high-tech riddles to unravel a mystery. Not to mention the addition of new dining venues, from Fish and Ships – a seaside seafood spot with freshly battered fish and chips and other guest favorites – to Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, Izumi Hibachi and Sushi and Sugar Beach. Independence will offer 3- to 14-night sailings from Southampton, England beginning in May 2018, before she heads across the pond in Nov. 2018 to sail from Ft. Lauderdale, FL on 4- to 5-night Caribbean cruises. Freedom of the Seas will be up next, debuting new features in 2020, followed by Liberty of the Seas in 2021.

• Voyager Class – In summer 2018, the transformation of Royal Caribbean’s short Caribbean cruises will begin with the $90 million amp-up of Mariner of the Seas. Mariner will redefine the quick getaway by giving guests the chance to take their weekends to new heights with the addition of new thrills, such as Sky Pad and laser tag; The Bamboo Room, a retro lounge with its tiki-chic décor; and the fun and vibrant Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade. The program will continue in 2019 on sister ship Navigator of the Seas, which also will be redesigned to specifically cater to those who seek a quick getaway.

• Oasis Class – Oasis of the Seas will be completely reimagined in fall 2019, ten years after her revolutionary debut. The ship will gain new thrills, pools, bars and culinary creations, as well as introduce new restaurants and onboard adventures found on the newest Oasis Class ship, Symphony of the Seas. These enhancements will cascade to Allure of the Seas in spring 2020, making every ship in the class more adventurous than ever.

Holland America Line's Announces More Nieuw Statendam Details
Holland America Line's Nieuw Statendam is set to debut in December 2018; and when the ship sets sail from the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy it will feature distinct stateroom enhancements. The newest 2,666-guest Pinnacle-Class ship will have eight more staterooms than sister-ship Koningsdam, and all categories have been reimagined from top to bottom to showcase more thoughtful touches and innovative additions.

Among the most noticeable enhancements is the redesigned Pinnacle Suite — the largest on the ship — as well as reconfigured Family Staterooms. However, Nieuw Statendam still displays all stateroom hallmarks introduced on Koningsdam, including single-cruiser accommodations, as well as a wider range of suite configurations.

"As with every new ship, we've listened to guest feedback and made our own assessments that have led to exciting changes to Nieuw Statendam that will enhance our stateroom experience across every category," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "Staterooms should be a sanctuary for our guests, and they are going to appreciate the elegance, functionality and extra-special touches to be found on our newest ship."

Nieuw Statendam adds five more ocean-view and three more interior staterooms, bringing the total stateroom count to 1,339. The ship features 103 ocean-view and 280 interior staterooms, ranging from 225 to 266 square feet. The ship will have 851 verandah or verandah spa accommodations, bringing the total staterooms that have a verandah, including suites, to 912.

The 32 family ocean-view staterooms range from 222 to 231 square feet and have been reconfigured to feature more living space to spread out and relax. Accommodating up to five guests, family staterooms offer special amenities including two bathrooms and extra closet space. The 12 single ocean-view staterooms for solo cruisers range from 127 to 172 square feet and are located on the forward main deck.

Aboard Nieuw Statendam, suites offer larger, more luxurious accommodations. A grand Pinnacle Suite is an expansive 1,290 square feet with a bedroom, living room, dining area, dressing room and private verandah with whirlpool. Nieuw Statendam's Pinnacle Suite was reconfigured to offer an open-concept design with the living room and dining area in one expansive space. Guests are greeted by a spacious grand entrance, refreshed color scheme and luxe touches like custom furniture and a double-sided television.

Forty-three Neptune Suites and two Neptune Spa Suites range from 465 to a generous 855 square feet. Guests in these accommodations (as well as the Pinnacle Suite) have access to the exclusive Neptune Lounge, a private place to relax, socialize with other suite guests and enjoy the personalized service of a concierge. Nieuw Statendam's Neptune Lounge was enlarged to allow for additional seating and more windows, giving a feeling of expanded openness. The fleetwide lounges provide worktables, a large screen television, a library, sofas and chairs, and complimentary refreshments throughout the day.

The 14 Signature Suites are up to 400 square feet in size, and the 104 Vista Suites range from 260 to 356 square feet. Signature and Vista suite guests receive many special amenities, including oversized bath towels, fresh flowers, a pillow menu, mini bar and one-touch phone concierge service.

Guests looking to focus on health and wellness during the cruise can book a Spa Suite or Verandah Spa, Outside Spa or Inside Spa stateroom, conveniently located near the Greenhouse Spa & Salon, and come with yoga mats for use during the voyage and an iPod docking station.

With sophisticated décor and amenities, suites and staterooms aboard Nieuw Statendam are welcoming sanctuaries featuring a host of modern details such as bedside USB ports, customized wood cabinets and luxurious frameless glass shower doors.

Additional amenities found in all suites and staterooms include Holland America Line's signature Mariner's Dream bed with finely woven cotton linens; plush bathrobes for use during the voyage; a premium massage showerhead; flat-panel TV with video-on-demand; mini fridge; complimentary fresh fruit on request; and fragrant soaps, lotions, shampoo and other bath amenities from Elemis Aromapure.

Due for delivery Dec. 1, 2018, Nieuw Statendam currently is under construction at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard in Italy. The 2,666-guest, 99,500-ton ship will reflect the ongoing evolution of Holland America Line. From familiar elements that reflect a rich heritage and classic style to state-of-the-art enhancements that chart a bold new course forward, guests on board Nieuw Statendam will delight in details that are artfully inspired and perfectly presented to create the ultimate Pinnacle-class experience.

While much of the ship's design will be similar to Koningsdam, the first Pinnacle Class ship, Nieuw Statendam will have exclusive public spaces and its own style created by leading hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and designer and architect Bjørn Storbraaten. The ship will feature all of the hallmarks of Pinnacle-Class design: grand, light-filled spaces; visual drama; and sumptuous interiors inspired by the fluid curves of musical instruments.

Royal Caribbean Eyes Next Generation of Cruisers with Multibillion-Dollar Investment
Vacation time is precious, and travelers today have higher expectations and more options than ever. Consumers continue to invest more in experiences and make choices based on the range of emotional benefits gained from quality time away. Knowing this, Royal Caribbean International is making a multibillion-dollar investment in providing its loyal guests and the next generation of cruisers with the most advanced, customizable vacation adventures that will lead to rich, memory-making moments worth experiencing and repeating.

A cruise vacation is much more than the ship itself. In one of the company's most ambitious projects yet, Royal Caribbean is changing what it means to thrill and chill on vacation with the unveiling of its new Perfect Day Island Collection, a series of unrivaled and exclusive private island destinations around the world.

The first in the collection, Perfect Day at CocoCay, is a $200 million transformation of the cruise line's existing private island in The Bahamas that will deliver the ultimate family destination in the Caribbean.

Highlights include:

• Thrill Waterpark, featuring two brag-worthy water towers with 13 slides – the most slides found in any waterpark in the Caribbean – will include the 135-foot-tall Daredevil's Peak, the tallest waterslide in North America. In addition, the waterpark will feature the Caribbean's largest wave pool and a kid-friendly obstacle course pool.

• Oasis Lagoon, the Caribbean's largest freshwater pool, with a swim-up bar and in-pool loungers.

• A 1,600-foot zip line that crisscrosses the island at up to 50 feet high and features the only water landing in the Caribbean.

• A helium balloon, dubbed Up, Up and Away, floats up to 450 feet above the ground providing for the highest vantage point in The Bahamas.

• Two specially designed beaches – Chill Island for the ultimate beach escape, complete with pristine, crystal-clear tropical waters and white powder-like sand – and plentiful cabanas and daybeds for relaxation; and the action-packed South Beach with volleyball, beachside basketball, soccer, paddle boarding, glass-bottom kayaking and zorbing in an inflatable zorb ball.

• The exclusive Coco Beach Club, will offer an upscale island experience that will feature the first overwater cabanas in The Bahamas.

Royal Caribbean ships departing from the U.S. states of New York, Maryland and Florida will call at Perfect Day at CocoCay, providing guests with vacation adventures like no other in the Caribbean. The island transformation will roll out in phases beginning September 2018 with the completion of a new pier, and by spring 2019 the majority of the island's experiences will be open. Coco Beach Club, the final phase, is set to open November 2019. Additional Perfect Day Island Collection destinations in Asia, Australia and the Caribbean will be announced at a later date.

"It's true that our ships are technological and engineering marvels in their own right and offer a multitude of unexpected experiences; but our destinations are an equally important part of the cruise vacation," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "We are introducing the Perfect Day Island Collection to deliver the most memorable vacation for adventure seekers on land and on board our ships. Once completed Perfect Day at CocoCay will be the ultimate family destination in the Caribbean."

Adding to recently announced digital innovations, including frictionless check-in, stateroom technology and a new mobile app, the cruise line has committed $900 million to reimagining its fleet through a new modernization effort called Royal Amplified. Spanning 10 ships in four years, the program will touch every facet of the guest experience, and introduce a wide range of innovative features and bold, new experiences, including specialized pool spaces, experiential dining and nightlife concepts, and first-of-its-kind attractions like Sky Pad, an out-of-this-world virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience. Royal Amplified reflects the company's passion for innovation, relentless attention to detail and commitment to delivering the best vacation in the world.

Royal Caribbean's increased popularity among millennials resulted in the cruise line being named "Cruise Line Brand of the Year" in The Harris Poll's 29th annual EquiTrend Study. This important, rising generation of travelers opts for more frequent and often shorter vacations, and Royal Caribbean is answering that call by amping up its short Caribbean getaways, setting a new industry standard. In summer 2018, Mariner of the Seas will undergo a $90 million modernization adding new thrills, including Sky Pad and a glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience; The Bamboo Room, a retro lounge with tiki-chic décor; and the fun, vibrant Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade. Mariner will sail 3- and 4-night cruises from Miami, FL redefining the weekend getaway.

Sister ship Navigator of the Seas will follow in 2019, and receive an even more extensive modernization before joining Mariner of the Seas to offer short escapes. In 2019, both ships will call extensively on Perfect Day at CocoCay, making for the most ultimate quick getaway.

Beginning in April 2018, Royal Caribbean's newest ship, Symphony of the Seas, will make waves not only as the world's largest cruise ship but also as the ultimate family vacation. True to her name, Symphony brings together a variety of new features, including the Ultimate Family Suite; new dining options – from fresh seafood to Mexican, thrilling entertainment and live-action adventure, such as the epic glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience.

In addition to Symphony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean has a robust lineup of new ships on the horizon, including the Quantum Ultra Class Spectrum of the Seas, an evolution of the Quantum Class of ships set to debut in 2019; a second Quantum Ultra Class ship in 2020, a fifth Oasis Class ship in 2021 and a new class known as Icon, with ships delivered in 2022 and 2024, both which will be largely powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and fuel cells.

Cunard Announces Lineup of Experts Joining 2018 Transatlantic Space Week
Cunard has announced a line-up of expert speakers for its second annual Transatlantic Space Week. The 9-night voyage on the line's flagship, Queen Mary 2, departs New York October 7, 2018 and arrives in Southampton October 16, 2018. The voyage will once again coincide with International World Space Week, which has taken place from October 4, to October 10 ever since its United Nations declaration in 1999.

The transatlantic journey will feature a variety of space-themed experiences including talks from distinguished space explorers including:

• Dr. Jeffery Hoffman, a former NASA astronaut and Shuttle pilot. Hoffman made five space flights, becoming the first astronaut to log 1,000 hours of flight time aboard the Space Shuttle. He is now Professor of Aerospace Engineering in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

• Robin Scagell of the Royal Astronomical Society is a lifelong astronomer and the author of numerous books including Complete Guide to Stargazing, 101 Things to Spot in the Night Sky, The Urban Astronomy Guide.

• Dr Lawrence Kuznetz, a former flight controller during Apollo and a 40-year veteran of the space program. Kuznetz helped to build the space shuttles and is a former Life Science Experiment Manager for the International Space Station.

"Throughout Cunard's history the line has been synonymous with adventure and exploration, and we are excited to offer our guests the opportunity to learn about the vast wonders of space from some of the greatest explorers of our time," said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. "Our acclaimed Insights program creates a unique opportunity for our guests to interact with experts from around the world."

Queen Mary 2 is the only ship to have a full-sized planetarium, Illuminations, on board, offering a variety of constellation shows and virtual reality rides throughout the day on each Transatlantic Crossing. Cunard's partnership with the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) allows the ship to offer specially-curated shows putting distant stars and galaxies into focus and explaining what passengers can see in the night sky at different times of the year.

RCL Names Adam Goldstein as Vice Chairman
Royal Caribbean Cruises announced this week that it has appointed Adam Goldstein, one of the cruise industry's most respected leaders, to serve as vice chairman.

Goldstein, a 30-year RCL veteran, will assume his new post in May, after having served as RCL's president and chief operating officer since 2014.

RCL's chairman and CEO, Richard Fain, said, "Adam has played a pivotal role in our success since he joined the company in 1988. He has exerted a positive influence across the company and provides exemplary leadership in our industry and in the communities we serve. As Adam transitions to his new role, I look forward to working with him to continue to build on these successes."

Goldstein said: "It remains an incredible privilege to work with the men and women of RCL, who help create the memories of a lifetime for our guests, and who know the importance of doing good while we do well. I look forward to focusing my efforts in a few key areas where I can help advance the cause of both RCL and the cruise industry."

In his new role, Goldstein will continue to oversee RCL's global government relations and destination development efforts, and will represent the company in industry associations. Both areas have been a constant focus for Goldstein across a career filled with challenging assignments.

Goldstein began his career with RCL in 1988. He has served in numerous senior roles, including president and CEO of the Royal Caribbean International brand. He led the brand during the introduction of the Oasis- and Freedom-class ships and has been a driver of the company's global expansion.

Goldstein has also played a prominent role in industry affairs. He currently serves as chair of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association and previously served as chair of Cruise Lines International Association (2015-16) and the Travel Industry Association of America (2001, now US Travel).

Goldstein, together with his family, has been deeply involved in concussion awareness issues. He also serves on the Energy Security Leadership Council, the President's Advisory Council of Princeton University and is actively involved with the INSEAD business school, where he received his MBA, as well as Harvard Law School, where he received his J.D.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 67.63 + 0.40%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 124.42 - 0.67%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.49 + 1.36%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.42 - 2.05%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Passengers in the top cabins aboard QE2 used to eat in the Queens Grill Restaurant. It wasn't always that way. What was the space occupied by the Queen's Grill called when QE2 first entered service?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was the inspiration for the distinctive funnel paint job on the ships of Carnival Cruise Line?

Answer - The ship had been previously owned by Canadian Pacific, and Carnival short on money only slightly altered the Canadian Pacific funnel logo.
courtesy of B. A. McKenzie


Cruise News - March 12, 2018

Silversea’s Silver Spirit Cut In Half As Part Of Lengthening Project
A great spectacle of naval engineering, Silversea’s Silver Spirit has been cut in two at Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo as part of her planned lengthening. A prebuilt 15-metre (49-feet) segment has been inserted and the ship is now being reconnected. With the aim of amplifying guests’ onboard experience, the rare lengthening project will create more space in public areas and will enhance Silver Spirit’s facilities. Welcomed by Leoluca Orlando, the Mayor of Palermo, members of the international press, representatives of Silversea and Fincantieri, and other VIP guests were in attendance at two celebratory ceremonies, as the ship’s transformation got underway in Sicily on March 10 and 11.

An air of excitement was cast over the shipyard as those present witnessed the dissection of the 36,009-ton ship, as well as the manoeuvering of the vast new mid-section into place. These important stages of the project ran with military precision, which pays testament to the quality of operations at the world-leading Fincantieri Shipyard. A rarely performed feat of maritime architecture, this type of lengthening has never before been employed for the extension of a luxury cruise ship.

“Witnessing these breathtaking phases of the Silver Spirit lengthening project has filled us with pride and excitement,” comments Barbara Muckermann, chief marketing officer of Silversea. “This ambitious project will amplify the onboard features that matter most to our guests. We are taking our flagship, Silver Muse – which was delivered by Fincantieri in April last year – as the point of inspiration for a fleet-wide renovation programme; the lengthening and refurbishment of Silver Spirit will replicate the modern elegance of our latest vessel to make for a more luxurious travelling experience. We are eager to share the new and improved layout of our cherished ship with our valued guests.”

Over 500 skilled workers will spend approximately 450,000 man hours completing the ambitious project, which is due to conclude on May 5, 2018, and will see Silver Spirit lengthened to 210.7m (691.3 ft.). Approximately 846 tons of steel, 110,000m (360,892 ft.) of cabling, and 8,000m (26,247 ft.) of piping will be put to use in the lengthening, as Silver Spirit’s capacity increases by roughly 12%, resulting in an overall dining capacity increase of 15% and a 20% increase in outdoor seating (from 200 to 266).

A new 8-restaurant configuration will replace the existing culinary infrastructure, with varying dining concepts introduced: Atlantide, Indochine, Silver Note, Spaccanapoli, will complement the pre-existing Seishin, La Dame, La Terrazza and The Grill.

Outside, the pool area on the sky deck will increase in length (from 30 to 45m / from 98 to 148 ft.) to offer additional space for relaxing under the sun and a new aerobics area will also be created. Inside, the Zagara Spa concept will be installed, as will a new free weights room which will complement the upgraded fitness centre. The Arts Café and Dolce Vita – two new, sophisticated public spaces – will improve the onboard entertainment options. All suites will be refurbished to ensure the trademark Silversea level of quality is maintained.

Prior to Silver Spirit’s arrival in Palermo, the ship docked in Chania, Crete, where Silversea made a charitable donation of used furniture to a number of the island’s worthy causes. As a destination visited by Silversea’s cruises and as an island in need, Chania was identified as a deserving recipient of the donation. In total, 11 containers were filled with 4,652 items from the ship – including sofas, chairs, curtains, computers, and more. The donated articles will be put to use for social welfare purposes in hospitals, nursing homes, schools and other institutions across the island. Impacting on the lives of many, the gesture from Silversea will strengthen relations between the cruise company and the island’s authorities at a time when Chania’s social structures need all the help they can get.

Not only will Silver Spirit increase in length, but she will also increase in comfort. From an enhancement and a re-imagination of the ship’s public spaces to an increase in the number and quality of suites, each aspect of the lengthening project has been designed with guest enjoyment in mind. Based on the chic décor found aboard Silver Muse, Silver Spirit will benefit from beautiful interior design upgrades throughout.

Departing on May 6, 2018, Silver Spirit will recommence her service with a seven-day cruise between Civitavecchia (Rome) and Barcelona.

Viking's Fourth Ocean Ship Named In Shanghai
Viking today announced that its fourth ocean ship, Viking Sun, was officially named during a spectacular celebration on The Bund, in the heart of Shanghai. The ship is currently sailing Viking's sold-out 141-day World Cruise from Miami to London, and its stop in Shanghai marks the first time one of Viking's ocean ships has called in China. Viking Sun is also the first-ever cruise ship to be named on The Bund in Shanghai. Classified as a "small ship" by Cruise Critic, the 930-guest, 47,800-ton Viking Sun arrived in Shanghai this morning, navigating into the mouth of the Yangtze River and then up the Huangpu River into central Shanghai, where she received a warm welcome from local residents and boats in the harbor.

"I am very pleased to officially name our newest ship in Shanghai. We care deeply about tourism in China, and we have been bringing river cruise guests here since 2004," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "China is the home of Viking Sun's Godmother, Mrs. Yi Lou, and in the coming year, Shanghai will also welcome our fifth ship, Viking Orion. We look forward to introducing thousands of new travelers to the cultural treasures in Shanghai and throughout China."

After arriving today, Viking Sun was positioned at the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, adjacent to a concert stage constructed specifically for the celebration. Viking's World Cruise guests and international dignitaries were treated to high-tech show and musical concert on the waterfront that paid tribute to the special friendship between Norway and China. On a giant wave-like screen built alongside the ship, a projected animation depicted the story of silk – the ancient trade that has formed a cultural bond between Norway and China. Shanghai television personality Michelle Wang served as master of ceremony and introduced musical performances from the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra and acclaimed Chinese operatic tenor Dai Yuqiang, as well as Norwegian singer Sissel Kyrkjebø, who is widely considered one of the world's top crossover sopranos.

Mrs. Yi Lou, Vice President of China Merchant Bank Financial Leasing (CMBFL), served as ceremonial godmother and offered a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for Viking Sun – a naval tradition that dates back thousands of years. In keeping with the naming custom, Mrs. Yi Lou also cut a ribbon that allowed a bottle of Norwegian aquavit to break on the ship's hull.

On March 9, Viking Sun will set sail from Shanghai for Southeast Asia and India, before making her way through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean – essentially following the route of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road or "One Belt One Road" Initiative. When the ship arrives in London on May 5, she will have visited five continents, 35 countries and 64 ports during her first World Cruise. Viking Sun will continue to sail the globe during the 2019 World Cruise, a 128-day itinerary from Miami to London.

While this is the first time one of Viking's ocean ships has called in China, the company has a long history with the China tourism industry. Operating river cruises on the Yangtze since 2004, Viking has been one of the largest sources of inbound travelers from North America. In 2016, Viking began offering a new river cruise product designed specifically for Chinese travelers who wish to travel to Europe. Sailing on Viking's award-winning Longships, Chinese travelers experience a Mandarin-exclusive environment – with all signage in Mandarin and all staff and tour guides fluent in Mandarin. These dedicated 190-guest Viking Longships are the first Mandarin exclusive hotel environments for Chinese travelers in Europe. And expanded for 2018, Viking will offer 100 sailings on the Rhine and Danube rivers, dedicated specifically for Chinese guests.

Norwegian Bliss Begins Her Conveyance Up River Ems
Norwegian Bliss, the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience, departed Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany last night local time, Tuesday, March 13, 2018 for her conveyance along the Ems River, and is arriving to Eemshaven, Netherlands today, Wednesday, March 14, 2018.

Norwegian Bliss completed another key milestone with only two months until her highly-anticipated arrival to Seattle, Washington where she will offer seven-day Alaska cruises throughout the summer.

"Today marks another historical moment for Norwegian Bliss, the most highly anticipated ship of the Norwegian Breakaway Plus class, the most successful class of our company's history" said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. "When she arrives into Seattle in June, guests will be excited to experience many new first-at-sea activities, including the largest two-level race track at sea, new dining experiences, such as Q Texas Smokehouse and Coco's a chocolate and treat shop, the Tony Award-Winning Broadway Show Jersey Boys and much more for guests to explore."

Measuring 994 feet long, 136 feet wide, and at a gross registered tonnage of 168,028, she embarked on her journey down the Ems River and up to the North Sea in reverse, making the narrow passage through Meyer Werft's sea lock, with less than four feet clearance. This very careful maneuver took about two hours at a speed of only 0.2 knots. The precise navigation included a team of experienced Ems River pilots, navigation officers, the yard captain and the local German waterway authorities.

After passing through the sea lock, Norwegian Bliss continued along the river stern first, which helps with the maneuverability of the ship and is a key component when navigating her through such narrow passages. Her journey to Eemshaven included cruising through the narrow passages of the Friesenbrücke Bridge in Weener; Jann Berghaus Bridge in Leer; and Ems-Barrier in Gandersum.

When she arrives to Eemshaven, she will take on additional provisions and crew members, before heading toward the North Sea for technical and nautical sea trials. This will be one of the final phases, before Norwegian Cruise Line takes delivery of their sixteenth ship on April 19, 2018 in Bremerhaven, Germany. Norwegian Bliss will then begin her passage across the Atlantic Ocean on April 21 and will arrive to the US on May 3, where she will begin her inaugural tour, the most extensive of any ship in Norwegian Cruise Line history. Events will take place in New York City, Miami, and Los Angeles, and then will conclude with a christening ceremony on May 30 at the new Pier 66 at the Port of Seattle in Washington State, followed by her inaugural cruise.

Following the preview events and christening, Norwegian Bliss will offer cruises to Alaska beginning June 2. She will spend her summer sailing seven-day cruises to Alaska, and fall season cruising to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles. In winter of 2018 she will sail to the Caribbean from Miami, and in the 2019 fall/winter season she will cruise from New York City to Florida, the Bahamas and Caribbean.

First Look at Disney’s Next Ship
The Disney Cruise Line fleet has some of the most beautiful ships at sea and the three newest vessels setting sail in 2021, 2022 and 2023 will be no exception. This first, early rendering depicts the magnificent exterior of the newest Disney ships that will elevate family cruise vacations to a whole new level.

In keeping with the distinct Disney Cruise Line style, the new ships will embody the elegance and romance of the golden age of ocean cruising with unique touches all their own. The new vessels will offer more innovation, new technologies, spectacular entertainment and more Disney stories and characters than ever before.

Ingenuity and innovation from stem to stern will amaze and delight Disney Cruise Line guests of all ages. Each new ship will be approximately 140,000 gross tons and each is currently planned to include about 1,250 guest staterooms.

The rendering was revealed today by Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger at The Walt Disney Company’s annual shareholders meeting.

Holland America Line Premieres 'Planet Earth II in Concert'
Following the success of the highly acclaimed "Frozen Planet in Concert" that was produced in partnership with BBC Earth, Holland America Line is debuting "Planet Earth II in Concert" on nearly all ships in the fleet. Combining live music with a backdrop of breathtaking footage from the new, award-winning BBC Earth television series "Planet Earth II," the exclusive show immerses guests in the most spectacular landscapes and habitats on Earth, bringing them eye-to-eye with the animals on screen.

"Planet Earth II in Concert" is presented through Holland America Line's partnership with BBC Earth, where world-class education and entertainment are brought onboard through behind-the-scenes films and live multimedia shows — in addition to special feature cruises with masterclass presentations from the television teams that work behind scenes on the programs.

"Our partnership with BBC Earth has been an extraordinary journey to all corners of the globe, and we can't wait to take our guests into the world of 'Planet Earth II' with this stunning, new live concert," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "'Frozen Planet in Concert' has been one of our most popular shows, and 'Planet Earth II' will be the perfect encore. No one shows the spectacle of nature like BBC Earth."

During "Planet Earth II in Concert," guests rub shoulders with acrobatic primates in the jungles of Madagascar, race alongside hunting lions in the remote sandy deserts of Namibia, face stormy seas of the Great Southern Ocean with a family of penguins and tap their toes along with dancing grizzly bears — all accompanied by a live orchestra that plays the main theme music by Oscar-winner Hans Zimmer and the original music score by Jacob Shea and Jasha Klebe for Bleeding Fingers Music.

"Planet Earth II in Concert" is rolling out across Eurodam, Koningsdam, Maasdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Oosterdam, Rotterdam, Veendam, Westerdam and Zuiderdam, and will be on board all of those ships by the end of April 2018.

Alaska-bound ships will revert to showing "Alaska in Concert," developed last season with exclusive Alaska wildlife footage, for the duration of the season. For Holland America Line's 70th anniversary season in Alaska in 2017, BBC Earth launched the "Alaska in Concert" production that combined live music set against backdrop footage from the BBC Earth television series "Wild Alaska," where audiences experience the cycle of four seasons and see this place is as unforgiving as it is beautiful.

In addition to "Planet Earth II in Concert" and "Alaska in Concert," theater screenings of BBC Earth programs are featured on each sailing, and 45- to 60-minute "Inside Earth" films go behind the scenes and explore the making of BBC Earth content. "Frozen Planet in Concert" will continue to show on longer voyages as a second BBC Earth performance for guests.

Carnival Implements the World's First Multi-Orbit, Tri-Band Capable Shipboard Antenna System
Intellian, the world's leading provider of maritime satellite antenna systems, today announced that Carnival has installed Intellian's v240MT next generation tri-band and multi-orbit 2.4 meter antennas on-board several Carnival cruise ships enhancing the connectivity experience.

In the cruise sector, there is a real demand for innovative antenna technologies that can enable and support intense data-rich applications. In a world's first, Intellian's antennas will provide the Carnival cruise ships with seamless, high-speed connectivity that can truly power the cruise vessel's connectivity demands. Intellian's v240MT (2.4m) antennas, combined with the new Intelligent Mediator Solution, are specifically designed to deliver data rates exceeding 1 Gbps. This extraordinary level of performance, essentially giving passengers the same connectivity speeds they enjoy at home, has previously never been realised at sea.

Intellian's 2.4m class multi-band, multi-orbit MEO (Medium Earth Orbit) and GEO (Geostationary Earth Orbit) broadband antennas, unlock access to virtually any satellite constellation within seconds. These frequency-agnostic and orbit-agnostic capabilities, enabled by Intellian's innovative antennas and Intelligent Mediator Solution, ensure that the equipment's capabilities are future-proof to customers seeking the fastest and most reliable broadband connectivity.

The new Intellian v240MT solution, provides the unique capability of switching between different satellite frequency bands (C-, Ku-, and Ka-band), as needed without any user intervention. This then enables the operator to select the best solution for the geographic location or for flexibility in achieving the highest throughput on virtually any satellite.

The new antennas track GEO satellites and have the capability to track MEO moving satellites. This world's first solution enables operation on virtually any satellite network, and ensures compatibility for the future as new satellite constellations are launched. To manage the switching between GEO and MEO, Intellian introduces the all-new Intelligent Mediator Solution. This incredibly sophisticated system allows for automatic switching between networks, satellites, and most importantly, provides support for Dual Data Centres. All these systems are connected on-board using Intellian Fiber Optic connections, meaning there is no potential for signal loss over the extended cable runs found on large cruise vessels. This is also much easier to retrofit than the heavier coax cables often used.

Supporting Dual Data Centers on the Carnival ships ensures uninterrupted connectivity. The identical mirrored systems, including a full complement of antenna controllers, Intelligent Mediators and satellite modems, instant changeover is completely automated with no manual intervention, an important factor in crew safety and vessel operations.

The new Intelligent Mediator handles switching from each satellite frequency band, as well as different orbits. If one antenna becomes blocked by a part of the ship, the system will automatically select the next best solution and switch without any loss of connection for the guests and crew on-board. All of this happens automatically, without any user intervention, this ensures no loss of data and no dropped calls.

This World's first solution, combined with the latest satellite technology, provides Carnival with truly Global coverage, a tri-band, multi-orbit, high-speed internet experience, as well as a redundant, resilient system that supports the current satellite networks whilst ensuring capability for future networks and operational areas.

Reza Rasoulian, Vice President of Global Connectivity at Carnival commented, "Even when enjoying a cruise vacation experience, we can - and should - expect to experience the same levels of connectivity we enjoy on land. Carnival has set the industry standard for what can be achieved today in delivering the ultimate guest connectivity experience, and we are pleased to have Intellian's technical and engineering prowess with strong focus on innovation in allowing us to realise this feat. Intellian was able to create the fastest and most flexible system that will provide a unique travel experience and deliver memorable vacations for our guests, enable our team members to communicate with friends and family back home, and power our on-board systems. We have collaborated closely with Intellian over the past three years to ensure that the solution will provide us with the ability and flexibility to attain bandwidth in a more efficient and ubiquitous manner, which is a critical component in our end to end connectivity strategy. This system is the new class leading standard, supporting the on-board networks that provide unprecedented levels of connectivity to our guests across Carnival brands."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 67.36 + 3.33%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 125.26 + 3.73%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.47 - 3.92%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 56.58 + 1.80%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the inspiration for the distinctive funnel paint job on the ships of Carnival Cruise Line?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
It's been a long time since a cruise ship or ocean liner was built in a United States ship yard. The last pair was built in the 1950's. What were the names of these ships and what line did they sail for?

Answer - The two vessels that were built in the United States in the 1950's were The Brazil & The Argentina & they sailed for the Moore Mc Cormack Line. They were a combination freighter/passenger ships. They were later converted to passenger ships.
courtesy of J & E McIntyre


Cruise News - March 5, 2018

Viking Enters Agreement With Fincantieri For Six Additional Ocean Ships
Viking today announced a new agreement with Fincantieri that could see the delivery of six additional ocean ships by 2027. The new understanding expands Viking's partnership with Fincantieri, raising the company's total ocean ship order and options to 16 – the highest-ever for a shipyard from a single owner. The agreement for the six additional ships, which will be delivered in 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027, is subject to specific conditions.

"When we launched our first ocean ship in 2015, we set out to reinvent ocean cruising. We focus on the destination, and we do not cram our ships with gimmicks and waterslides. Our understated, elegant, award-winning ships are designed to simply enable our guests to better explore their destination," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "In our first two years of operation, we have been named the #1 Ocean Cruise Line, and this new order speaks to the positive response we have received from our guests and the industry. As we continue to expand our brand, we look forward to bringing guests to more destinations around the world and introducing them to the Viking way of exploration."

This announcement comes just prior to the naming of Viking's fourth ocean ship, Viking Sun on March 8 in Shanghai. The ship is currently sailing Viking's sold-out 141-day World Cruise from Miami to London, and its stop in Shanghai will mark the first time one of Viking's ocean ships has called in China. Viking Sun will also be the first-ever cruise ship to be named in Shanghai.

Classified as "small ships," Viking's all-veranda ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, have 465 staterooms and host 930 guests. Viking Sun is the newest addition to Viking's award-winning ocean fleet, which also includes Viking Star, Viking Sea and Viking Sky. Viking will welcome two more sister ships in the next two years, including Viking Orion in June 2018. With the arrival of Viking Jupiter in 2019, Viking will be the largest small ship ocean cruise line. Ten additional ships are now on order for delivery starting in 2021, which will bring Viking's ocean fleet to 16 ships by 2027.

Seabourn Unveils Culinary Options Aboard Seabourn Ovation
Seabourn announced this week that it is readying an exceptional menu of dining options to delight guests of its newest ship, Seabourn Ovation. Scheduled to launch in May 2018, the fifth ultra-luxury vessel in the Seabourn fleet will set the table for world-class, award-winning dining with five restaurants, each in keeping with the high quality and inventiveness that has earned the line wide praise from culinary observers.

Seabourn's world-class dining rivals the finest restaurants anywhere, and Seabourn Ovation will be no exception. The line's skilled chefs prepare gourmet dishes using fresh, seasonal ingredients and take inspiration from regional flavors, including new artisan gelato. The highly talented culinary team are experts in offering dishes that are designed to satisfy a range of appetites. Whether indulging poolside, in the comfort of a private veranda or in a more formal setting, all dishes are carefully curated and plated with an artistic eye.

"Seabourn has continuously been recognized for the superb quality of our cuisine, and we will continue our leadership with the launch of Seabourn Ovation," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "As the ship spends its maiden season cruising the coasts and exploring the hidden gems of Northern Europe this summer, guests can look forward to a wonderful culinary experience."

With a selection of dishes inspired by Seabourn's partnership with world-renowned, Michelin-starred Chef Thomas Keller served in venues across the ship, including The Grill by Thomas Keller, and the remarkable design of on board restaurants by hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany, guests of Seabourn Ovation can look forward to the finest culinary experience on the high seas. Here's what's on the menu for Seabourn Ovation:

• New Artisan Gelato – The ship will feature the line's new milk- and fruit-based gelato, which will be made fresh daily and served across the vessel. Delivering a truly authentic product in both taste and texture, Seabourn's talented chefs visited and trained at Carpigiani University in Bologna, Italy -- widely recognized as the home of the leading gelato machine manufacturer in the industry – to perfect their knowledge of the history and techniques used for gelato making.

Guests can choose from a wide range of milk-based flavors, including Amarena Cherry, Amaretto, Dulce De Leche, Stracciatella, Sicilian Pistachio, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Bourbon Vanilla, and Cappuccino. The selection will also include fruit-based gelato flavors such as Blood Orange, Coconut, Kumquat, Mulberry, Wild Berry, Rhubarb, Yuzu, Black Currant, and Black Cherry. The gelato menu will also feature a local ingredient gelato as a "daily special" on voyages where the culinary team can procure the ingredients in select ports such as lemon when visiting the Amalfi Coast. Flavors will also include "no sugar added" gelato.

The new gelato program will launch in April on Seabourn Encore and be available fleetwide by early 2019.

• The Grill by Thomas Keller – Created via partnership with world-renowned American chef and restaurateur Thomas Keller, The Grill serves a timeless menu with updated versions of iconic dishes in an ambiance inspired by the classic '50s and '60s American restaurant. Seabourn chefs trained by Chef Keller's team create a dining experience like no other at sea, with memorable delights such as tableside prepared Classic Caesar Salad; Lobster Thermidor; Medallions of Elysian Fields Farm Lamb; and Meyer Lemon Meringue Tart. The wine list, personally curated by Chef Keller to complement each dish, runs more than 90 domestic and old-world labels, including many rare offerings. Advanced reservations are required for The Grill.

• Sushi – Sleek and unique with an identity all its own, Sushi is a standout destination for fresh, high-grade sushi created from the finest ingredients. Hot and cold offerings such as Salmon Tataki; Black King Fish Sashimi; and BBQ Eel Maki are available, and the sake menu features exceptional selections, many displayed against a lighted wall creating a work of art. Service is available through the day, including Bento boxes and select sushi features at lunch, with sushi chefs in action for all to see. This restaurant is only featured on Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation.

• The Restaurant – A fine-dining and open-seating gourmet experience, its extensive menus offer a wide variety of delectable choices and dishes prepared to order by the line's expert culinary team. Choose an appetizer, an entrée (or vegetarian option), and a dessert with selections such as Black Truffle Risotto & Poached Egg; Char Broiled Iberico Pork Chop; Crisp Polenta and Mushroom Cake; and Hot Coconut Soufflé. On select nights, The Restaurant features a selection of dishes by Thomas Keller as well as favorites from Seabourn's menu. The Restaurant also features an expansive premium wine selection showcased in an elegant glass wall.

• The Colonnade – This casual restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating is the spot for breakfast, lunch and dinner prepared in open-kitchen style and offered via table service or lavish buffet. Look on as Seabourn chefs fashion an ever-changing array of regionally themed, bistro-style experiences such as Dungeness Crab Cakes; Roast Prime Rib of Beef; Potato & Beaufort Cheese Torte; and Baked New York Cheese Cake. Special theme nights feature Chef Keller-influenced family-style dinners that pay homage to his American childhood.

• The Patio – Relaxed, casual, and located right by the pool, The Patio offers luncheon buffets and a full dinner menu with salads, pastas, soups, and grilled specialties, plus freshly baked gourmet pizza. Don't miss Chef Keller's signature Napa Burger developed exclusively for Seabourn, or his artisanal Yountwurst hot-dog named for the hometown of The French Laundry, Ad Hoc, and the original Bouchon.

• In-Suite Dining – Seabourn Ovation offers an extensive menu of gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner items around the clock, including course by course dinner from The Restaurant, to be enjoyed in suite or on your private veranda.

• Cocktail Hour – Seabourn Ovation will feature seven lounges and bars with an accessible open-bar policy to ensure there is never a check to sign. Select venues also offer craft cocktails created exclusively for Seabourn by world-renowned mixologist Brian van Flandern. Every evening guests will find tapas served in the Observation Bar and a selection of canapes in The Club.

• Seabourn Square – The veritable heart of the ship, Seabourn Square offers freshly baked breakfast treats and afternoon snacks. The baristas onboard also roast coffee fresh each day and prepare a variety of coffee and tea selections.

• Afternoon Tea – Served daily in The Observation Bar, Afternoon Tea is welcome ritual for many guests and includes light bites such as scones and fresh baked cookies.

When dining with Seabourn, guests can come when they like, dine with whom they please, and be seated as they wish in most venues across the ship.

Carnival Names Godmother of Carnival Horizon
Queen Latifah – Grammy award-winning musical artist, acclaimed television and film actress, label president, author and entrepreneur – has been named the godmother to Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, Carnival Horizon.

Latifah will participate in the ship’s official naming ceremony as well as a special “Lip Sync Battle: Horizon” showcase that is part of the line’s authentic shipboard reproduction of the hit Paramount Network series. The event will be held during an invitation-only overnight gala onboard Carnival Horizon in New York City on May 23, 2018.

Currently starring in the FOX series “STAR,” Latifah is an incredible talent earning an Oscar nomination, a Golden Globe nomination and a SAG Award nomination for her portrayal as Mama Morton in Chicago. She also received an Emmy nomination, a Golden Globe win and a SAG Award win for performances in both “Life Support” and “Bessie,” an HBO biopic on the legendary jazz artist Bessie Smith as well as accolades for her performance as the title character in NBC’s The Wiz Live!

The first hip-hop artist to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Latifah has earned six Grammy nominations and a Grammy Award for Best Solo Rap Performance. Her production company, Flavor Unit Entertainment, has quickly grown to prominence, producing award-winning television shows, blockbuster hits and independent films for a variety of Hollywood studios.

”With her fun-loving spirit and positive, can-do attitude, Queen Latifah embodies our brand and knows how to ‘Choose Fun’ in everything she does,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Knowing that she is a long-time supporter of St. Jude and has performed and won ‘Lip Sync Battle’ made her the ideal candidate to serve as godmother to our newest ship,” she added.

”Carnival is an iconic American brand and it’s an honor to be named godmother of Carnival Horizon and take part in the event on May 23, honoring the special children of St. Jude – a cause that is very near and dear to my heart,” said Latifah.

The May 23 gala will recognize long-time Carnival partner St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with a check presentation from funds raised via various activities and events, both on board and ashore, leading up to the event. Additionally, Carnival will unveil special custom-designed artwork created by more than 30 St. Jude patients that will appear on the Carnival Horizon’s “Dreamscape,” a stunning three-deck-high LED sculpture that takes center stage in the ship’s atrium.

Following the event, Carnival Horizon begins her summer schedule from New York that runs through September followed by the launch year-round Caribbean cruises from Miami later that month.

Seabourn Names Godmother Of New Seabourn Ovation
One of the world's best-loved and most highly awarded actresses and singers, Elaine Paige, will serve as godmother to Seabourn's elegant new all-suite ship, Seabourn Ovation.

The naming ceremony will take place Friday, May 11, in the beautiful baroque harbour of Valletta, Malta during a spectacular ceremony that will light up the dramatic UNESCO World Heritage site and the 2018 European Capital of Culture. Seabourn enjoys a multi-year partnership with UNESCO to support their efforts to protect World Heritage at sites around the world.

"Elaine's talents are boundless and, like Seabourn, the world is her stage and she is constantly seeking out new adventures," said Richard Meadows, President of Seabourn. "She has created so many memories for her audiences, just as we do for our guests, on every voyage they take. We are thrilled to have such an accomplished performer launch Seabourn Ovation on her maiden voyage."

"I am so honoured to have been asked to be Godmother to Seabourn Ovation," said Elaine Paige. "Seabourn's legendary service has the same DNA as a hit West End show: a dedicated cast of professionals who all come together to deliver a superb performance, whatever their role. I can't wait to board the beautiful Seabourn Ovation and send her off into the world!"

Elaine Paige's biography reads like a "who's who" of the stage musical. She originated the role of Eva Peron in Evita, followed by Grizabella in Cats and Florence in Chess. She has starred in more smash hit West End and Broadway musicals than anyone else of her generation - from Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Anything Goes, Sunset Boulevard, to The King & I; Sweeney Todd and Follies - and many more.

With an impressive and glittering roster of accolades, Elaine bears the unofficial title of "The First Lady of British Musical Theatre." She has defined musicals and has simply set the gold standard. In 1995, she was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to Musical Theatre by HM Queen Elizabeth II.

A thrilling live performer, Elaine has delighted audiences around the world, from The White House, The Great Hall of the People in Beijing, and The Sydney Opera House to The Bolshoi, New York's Lincoln Center, and London's Royal Albert Hall. She has recorded 22 solo albums, has been featured on seven cast albums, and earned eight consecutive gold and four multi-platinum discs, achieving chart topping hits including signature tunes Don't Cry for Me Argentina and I Know Him So Well.

Her television work includes drama on BBC & ITV, her own series on SKY Arts, and more roles to be aired on BBC & ITV this year. She continues to host her BBC Radio 2 show, Elaine Paige On Sunday, regularly attracting 2.5 million listeners every week.

When not performing, Elaine works tirelessly for charities including The Children's Trust. She is President for the Dan Maskell Tennis Trust, an Ambassador to the Royal Voluntary Service and an Artistic Associate of Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. Other charities include Breast Cancer Campaign, the Royal Academy of Dance Silver Swans, and Support Dogs amongst many others.

Seabourn Ovation is the fifth ultra-luxury ship in the Seabourn fleet. With stunning contemporary interiors by design icon Adam D. Tihany, culinary expertise by Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller, specially commissioned entertainment by Sir Tim Rice and an exciting program of on-board speakers, Ovation will sail on a variety of voyages in and around Europe between May and November 2018, hailing at ports throughout Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

Cunard Unveils 2020 Voyage Program
Cunard today unveiled its 'Oceans of Discovery' voyage program featuring sailings from November 2019 through April 2020. Flagship liner Queen Mary 2 along with Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria will call at 123 destinations in 48 different countries, including 10 exciting maiden calls in Japan, Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Whether it is a two-night short break or a full 113-night world voyage, the Cunard fleet will offer a blend of iconic, world-class cities along with smaller, lesser-known but equally charming destinations. Oceans of Discovery, by Cunard includes:

• The World Voyage, by Cunard: Pioneering the concept of world cruising in 1922, Cunard has undertaken more world voyages and sent more ships around the globe than any other passenger line. In 2020, Queen Mary 2 will offer the only true World Voyage lasting between 99 and 113 nights.

• Grand Voyages, by Cunard: These itineraries offer more days at sea with the luxury of time, and call on the world's most iconic ports, creating unforgettable journeys.

• Regions of the World, by Cunard: These carefully curated voyages showcase the most fascinating regions on earth, balancing the exploration of shore days with the serenity of time at sea.

"Cunard's iconic three Queens will traverse the globe during our 2020 program," said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. "These carefully curated itineraries offer extended time in port so guests have more time to explore each destination, including many overnight stays featuring two full days of exploration in cities such as Cape Town, Auckland and Buenos Aires."

Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2 will operate Cunard's only World Voyage in 2020 and will undertake her classic East-West Voyage to Australia and Asia, including the Mediterranean, Arabian Gulf, Indian Ocean and Southern Africa. The World Cruise can be taken as a round-trip from either New York (113 nights) or London (99 nights). Shorter voyage options range in length from one-to-three weeks and can be combined in many ways allowing guests to create the ideal travel experience to the iconic cities of their choice.

The beginning of the voyage is routed via the Mediterranean Sea and Suez Canal to the Arabian Gulf and across the Indian Ocean, entering Asia via the Malacca Straits. From there Queen Mary 2 will head north via Vietnam to Hong Kong before heading south to Australia. The final leg of the voyage is the return to London from Australia, which is routed via South Africa. The voyage includes more overnight stays than in any of Queen Mary 2's world voyages in the past 10 years.

Queen Mary 2's 2020 deployment features:

• The World Voyage, by Cunard

• Grand Voyages, by Cunard and Regions of the World, by Cunard

• 35 voyage combinations ranging from 7 to 113 nights

• 38 ports in 26 countries

• Overnight stays in Haifa, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney, and a double overnight in Cape Town

• Transits the Suez Canal

• 38 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Queen Elizabeth

In December 2019 and the first half of 2020, Queen Elizabeth will offer a series of round-trip voyages from international ports with deeper, richer and more regionally-focused itineraries. In between these deployments will be exotic grand voyages that capture the imagination and spirit of adventure in travel lovers across the world.

Queen Elizabeth will operate six round-trip voyages from Melbourne and two from Sydney, covering the popular regions of South Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand as well as a new itinerary that features the exotic paradise of Papua New Guinea with maiden calls in Conflict Island and Kiriwina. The ship will offer multiple sailings in Japan, making five maiden calls to Japanese ports in 2020.

Queen Elizabeth's 2020 deployment features:

• Grand Voyages, by Cunard and Regions of the World, by Cunard.

• 75 voyage combinations ranging from 2 to 49 nights

• 67 ports in 21 countries

• Overnight stays in Cape Town, Auckland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai

• Scenic cruising in Fiordland National Park, New Zealand, as well as Hubbard Glacier and the Inside Passage

• 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria's winter deployment consists of a series of European departures in November and December 2019, followed by an exotic winter escape round-trip experience to South America that offers a mix of relaxation and exploration. The ship will offer longer stays in ports such as Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, as well as overnights in Manaus, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and Callao for guests to immerse themselves in the beauty and vibrancy that South America has to offer. Stunning scenic cruising will include the Amazon River, the Magellan Straits, Cape Horn, the Chilean Fjords and the Panama Canal.

Queen Victoria's 2020 deployment features:

• Grand Voyages, by Cunard and Regions of the World, by Cunard

• 23 voyage combinations ranging from 2 to 82 nights

• 41 ports in 20 countries

• Overnight stays in Manaus, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Callao

• Scenic cruising in the Amazon River, Panama Canal, Magellan Straits, around Cape Horn and the Chilean Fjords

• 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Princess Cruises and Fathom Travel Add Impact Sailings to Caribbean
Princess Cruises and Fathom Travel – two of 10 leading brands from Carnival Corporation, the world's largest cruise company – have announced six additional impact sailings, now to be known as Travel Deep sailings, in 2018 to the Caribbean. The new voyages follow a highly successful inaugural sailing in January onboard Crown Princess with more than 150 guests joining locals for in-depth immersion into island life, a connection with local communities, a donation drop, and community care, making a tangible difference in their lives.

These unique group opportunities allow Princess Cruises guests to make an impact while traveling and provide assistance and support to local communities in a variety of ways such as on-shore opportunities to deeply connect with those living on the islands of the Caribbean, and to realize the rewards of lending a helping hand to those in need. Due to the success of the first group sailing onboard Crown Princess, the following six additional dates have been added aboard seven-day Princess Cruises Caribbean cruises:

• Regal Princess, departing March 18, 2018 (previously announced) -- Fort Lauderdale, Princess Cays, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Fort Lauderdale

• Caribbean Princess, departing May 26, 2018 (previously announced) -- Fort Lauderdale, Princess Cays, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Fort Lauderdale

• Caribbean Princess, departing June 30, 2018 -- Fort Lauderdale, Grand Cayman, Roatan, Belize City, Cozumel, Fort Lauderdale

• Caribbean Princess, departing July 28, 2018 -- Fort Lauderdale, Grand Cayman, Roatan, Belize City, Cozumel, Fort Lauderdale

• Caribbean Princess, departing August 18, 2018 -- Fort Lauderdale, Princess Cays, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Fort Lauderdale

• Royal Princess, departing November 17, 2018 -- Fort Lauderdale, Princess Cays, San Juan, Amber Cove, Grand Turk, Fort Lauderdale

"These additional Travel Deep group sailings allow us to offer our Princess Cruises guests more opportunities to make an impact within the communities in need while adding meaning and a deeper connection during their travels," said Tara Russell, Fathom president and Carnival Corporation global impact lead. "These purpose-driven groups allow travelers to get closer to the places we visit with a chance to come alongside local communities and have more authentic, immersive experiences with locals."

All Travel Deep group sailings include small group leaders and guides, unique onboard events and activities, as well as on-shore opportunities to deeply connect with those living on the islands of the Caribbean. Once booked, Princess Cruises guests who wish to take part e-mail community@fathom.org to join the group, after which they receive onboard credits and special invitations to Fathom Travel programming.

Highlights of the inaugural eight-day Crown Princess sailing that visited Antiqua, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Amber Cove in January included an in-depth immersion into island life, a connection with local communities, a donation drop, and community care – with optional activities including rebuilding, beach clean-up, reforestation and therapy through arts:

• In St. Thomas, the Fathom Travel group on Crown Princess handed out nearly $14,000 worth of baby items, purchased by travelers, to more than 200 young families from the island. In the afternoon, the group helped the local Boys & Girls Club, where they built game tables, repainted facilities and heard stories from local children.

• St. Maarten offered a clean-up at Guana Bay, a beach important to three species of sea turtles that nest on the island. More than 1.5 tons of trash was collected and removed. In addition, travelers visited the National Institute of Art, where they interacted with locals and supported their ART HEALS program through participation, and a donation of $1,500.

• At Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic, one group of 50 travelers took part in the construction of two homes by pouring concrete floors for families who lost their home during hurricanes. Another group of 50 travelers visited a local school and spent time visiting with students. Later, the group planted 400 seeds of mahogany and out-planted 90 seedlings.

• Many of the repairs and aid were funded by donations made at https://www.youcaring.com/puertoplata-991506, where all proceeds went directly to rebuilding the Loma de la Bestia community in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Those who cannot sail but still wish to offer support are encouraged to make donations online.

Holland America Revamps Onboard Retail Experience
Holland America Line is introducing a new retail experience on board its ships to better align with its ongoing brand evolution. The multi-faceted retail plan introduces new products and services, including an expanded logo collection, locally cultivated items, a new Fujifilm photo space and new supplier partnerships.

The retail rollout began with Veendam and will expand to Maasdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Oosterdam, Prinsendam, Rotterdam, Westerdam and Zaandam over the coming months. To launch and oversee the new program, Patrick Kells joined Holland America Group as director of retail, reporting to Kelli Coleman, vice president, onboard revenue, photo and retail.

"Over the past several years we have significantly elevated our entertainment, enrichment and culinary programs to enhance the way our guests experience the global destinations we visit," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "This new retail strategy continues the path of introducing innovative, new shipboard opportunities to exceed the expectations of travelers today and in the future. With more premium products and selections that reflect the destinations they are visiting, plus an interactive and engaging new photo area, our guests will enjoy more meaningful keepsakes from their cruise."

Partnership with Fujifilm Makes Photo Souvenirs a Snap
Holland America Line is partnering with Fujifilm for a new, interactive, creative photo space on board that will enable guests to immediately print their photos from their mobile phones or memory cards using instant photo machines. Guests also will be able to share cruise memories by creating keepsake souvenirs featuring images from their cruise on product offerings such as photo books, mugs, shirts, keychains, magnets, mousepads and more. Keepsake mementos will be produced offsite and shipped to guests upon returning home from their cruise.

Curated Products and Services Offer New Retail Experience
The retail enhancement introduces an expanded Holland America Line logo collection featuring iconic products that will leave guests with lasting memories of their cruise. From custom apparel to locally made artworks, the new items go beyond traditional cruise logo souvenirs. The new shops will also feature co-branded merchandise from some of Holland America Line's partners including Lincoln Center Stage, B.B. King's Blues Club, BBC Earth and America's Test Kitchen.

To bring the destinations on board in an authentic way, the new retail program will showcase unique products from local artisans and designers that capture the cultures visited around the world.

Holland America Line is looking to make shopping more engaging and meaningful, and interactive and enriching events will be offered so guests can see the different items and peruse the space with guidance from helpful yet unobtrusive shop staff.

New Supplier Elevates Products and Services
For the new retail experience, Holland America Line tapped into the expertise of California-based Sofia Fiori, a luxury brand recognized worldwide for its designs, to operate the premium line's new fine jewelry and watch area. Sophia Fiori is at the forefront of product innovation for jewelry and watches and delivers meaningful guest experiences with its sophisticated operation.

Sophia Fiori is internationally recognized as a jewelry stylist to the stars, with frequent appearances on the Hollywood red carpet including the Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globes. Sophia Fiori is also a diamond wholesaler and designer, controlling every facet of production including direct sourcing of premium diamonds and gemstones, jewelry design, manufacturing and distribution, allowing Holland America Line guests to truly customize their jewelry right on board.

Patrick Kells Named Director of Retail
Based in the cruise line's Seattle headquarters, Kells will lead the retail strategy for Holland America Line and oversee the onboard retail experience. He will report to Kelli Coleman, vice president, onboard revenue, photo and retail.

Prior to joining Holland America Line, Kells was with The Coca-Cola Company for 13 years, most recently as global director of retail merchandising. In that role, he was responsible for business strategy development, brand management, product development, store design and construction, visual merchandising and location planning. Previously he was with The Walt Disney Company. Kells holds an MBA and a bachelor's degree in business management.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 65.19 - 5.03%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 120.76 - 7.39%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.53 - 1.29%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.58 - 4.09%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
It's been a long time since a cruise ship or ocean liner was built in a United States ship yard. The last pair was built in the 1950's. What were the names of these ships and what line did they sail for?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which famous liner came to the assistance of the Andrea Doria after she was struck by the Swedish liner Stockholm in 1956?

Answer - The French Line transatlantic liner "Ile de France" came to the rescue after the collision between the Italian liner "Andrea Doria" and the Swedish Liner "Stockholm" on July 25, 1956. The collision occured in fog off the Nantucket Shoals.
courtesy of Larry MacDonald


Cruise News - February 26, 2018

New Ship Ordered for AIDA Cruises
Carnival Corporation today announced it has signed a shipbuilding contract for a third next-generation cruise ship for its rapidly growing AIDA Cruises brand, the leading cruise line in Germany, which is the largest and fastest-growing cruise market in Europe.

Scheduled for delivery in 2023, the new 180,000-ton ship, being built by leading German shipbuilder Meyer Werft GmbH at its shipyard in Papenburg, will include an estimated 2,700 staterooms and extensive selection of popular onboard features. Featuring Carnival Corporation's exclusive "green cruising" design and the marine industry's most advanced fuel technology, the ship will also be fully powered at sea and in port by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel, which will significantly reduce air emissions.

With today's announcement, AIDA Cruises now has a total of three LNG ships on order. AIDAnova is scheduled to join AIDA Cruises' fleet in December as the first ship of its new generation of LNG vessels, and the first-ever cruise ship in the world to be fully powered by LNG. The second ship of this series will be christened in the spring of 2021.

The three next-generation LNG ships for AIDA Cruises are part of Carnival Corporation's ongoing fleet enhancement strategy with 20 new ships scheduled for delivery between 2018 and 2023 – creating excitement in the vacation market and continuing to exceed guest expectations while accelerating demand for cruising, the fastest growing segment in the vacation industry.

"On board our ships, which travel the most beautiful destinations worldwide, we offer the greatest holiday variety on the German market with a complete package of culture, entertainment, sports, wellness and culinary delights," said Felix Eichhorn, president of AIDA Cruises. "The interest in AIDAnova, the first ship of our new generation, is enormous, even before the commissioning later this year. With today's new shipbuilding contract, we will ensure the further growth of the cruise market in the long term and will be able to provide excellent cruises for this steadily growing holiday segment in the future as well. Thanks to an even wider variety on board, we are opening up completely new possibilities for attracting new target groups across generations for this unique holiday experience."

Starting with AIDAnova, the next generation ship class will combine onboard innovations with evolutions of successful product features already offered on the existing fleet to further enhance the guest experience. More than 40 restaurants and bars on board provide guests with an opportunity to enjoy a new level of world-class dining experiences and culinary trends. Versatile entertainment offerings include an enhanced theatrium, an onboard TV studio and new event restaurants. Guests also have the choice of more than 20 different cabin types – from the penthouse suite to generously sized family staterooms or single staterooms with a balcony.

With its three new LNG ships on the horizon, AIDA Cruises continues to pursue its pioneering mission of "green cruising" and sustainable operations. As of 2023, more than half of AIDA Cruises' guests will be spending their vacation on a cruise ship that runs fully or partially on LNG. The use of LNG for ship power prevents emissions of particulate matter and sulfur oxides almost entirely at sea and in port. It also significantly reduces the emission of nitrogen oxides and CO2.

Tim Meyer, managing director of Meyer Werft, said: "This is the 10th AIDA Cruises ship we are building in Papenburg, emphasizing a long-term partnership between AIDA Cruises and Meyer Werft. AIDAnova and the following two sister ships feature the latest technology focused on sustainability and energy efficiency."

In total, Carnival Corporation has agreements in place with leading German and Finnish shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Meyer Turku to build nine LNG-powered cruise ships across four of its nine global cruise brands with delivery dates between 2018 and 2023 – three for AIDA Cruises with expected delivery dates between 2018 and 2023, two for Costa Cruises with expected delivery dates in 2019 and 2021, two for P&O Cruises UK with expected delivery dates in 2020 and 2022 and two for Carnival Cruise Line with expected delivery dates in 2020 and 2022.

Carnival To Offer New Cruises To Cuba From Miami In 2019
Carnival Cruise Line will offer 17 new sailings to Cuba aboard Carnival Sensation in 2019. The five-day Cuba voyages will be the line's first to operate round-trip from Miami and feature a day-long call in Havana as well as stops at popular Caribbean and Bahamian ports, including Grand Turk, Grand Cayman, Nassau, and the private destinations of Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays.

The voyages complement a series of voyages to Cuba departing from Tampa aboard Carnival Paradise taking place in 2018-19.

"Our inaugural cruises to Cuba aboard Carnival Paradise from Tampa were met with exceptional guest response and we're thrilled to expand upon the program with our first Cuba cruises from Miami featuring Havana and some of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean and The Bahamas," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Cuba is a sought-after destination and we're delighted to provide our guests with even more opportunities to experience and explore this fascinating island," she added.

Carnival Sensation's Cuba schedule includes:

• four five-day sailings to Havana and Grand Turk departing May 20, Sept. 9, Nov. 18 and Dec. 16, 2019

• five five-day voyages featuring Havana, Nassau and Half Moon Cay departing June 17, July 15, Aug. 12, Sept. 23, and Nov. 4, 2019

• a five-day cruise to Havana, Nassau and Princess Cays departing April 22, 2019

• seven five-day cruises to Havana and Grand Cayman departing May 6, June 3, July 1 and 29, Aug. 26, Oct. 7 and Dec. 2, 2019

The 2,052-passenger Carnival Sensation underwent an extensive multi-million-dollar dry dock last year that added a variety of popular food and beverage concepts, including Guy's Burger Joint developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar, BlueIguana Cantina serving authentic tacos and burritos, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, and the Cherry on Top sweets shop.

These complement the ship's diverse array of onboard features, including a WaterWorks aqua park, a Serenity adults-only retreat, 24-hour pizzeria, fun supervised programs for kids in three age groups, and the Seuss at Sea program operated exclusively with Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

Guests sailing on Carnival's Cuba cruises can select from nearly 20 different shore excursion experiences that showcase the island's vibrant culture, majestic beauty and centuries-old architectural landmarks. A variety of Cuban-themed activities and entertainment, including the sizzling Amor Cubano: A Caribbean Dance Romance Playlist Productions show, Havana-inspired deck parties, trivia contests and salsa lessons, are also offered. There's also a lecturer on board who discusses the country's rich history and culture.

The visits to Havana comply with regulations of the U.S. Department of Treasury that permit travel operators to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in activities as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Cunard Partners With Rocky Mountaineer to Offer Guests Luxury by Rail
Luxury cruise brand Cunard has announced its partnership with Rocky Mountaineer to offer passengers unmatched experiences in Alaska. Recently it was announced that the legendary Cunard experience will return to Alaska in 2019, for the first time in over two decades.

The Rocky Mountaineer railroad is the only of its kind to travel its historic routes and is celebrated for the majestic views of mountains and curious wildlife. Since 1990, Rocky Mountaineer has welcomed over 2 million passengers. The supreme experience onboard the all-dome ?eet offers opulent, historic storytelling, top-notch cuisine, and a first-hand look at the vast and untouched wild beauty that lies in the Pacific Northwest.

"As we return to Alaska for the first time in twenty years, we are excited to partner with the Rocky Mountaineer, ensuring our passengers enjoy the remarkable scenery and Alaskan wildlife in the utmost of luxury both by land and by sea," said Josh Leibowitz, Senior VP, Cunard North America.

Rocky Mountaineer tours are offered pre- and post-voyage and includes either three or five nights' accommodation and two full days aboard the train. The expedition travels through a spectacular array of scenery with glacier and snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies, through winding river canyons, mountain passes and remarkable tunnels. Highlights include the Continental Divide, Kicking Horse Canyon, Spiral Tunnels and the rushing waters of Hell's Gate in the Fraser Canyon.

Carnival Paradise Undergoing Massive, Month-Long Renovation
Carnival Paradise is undergoing an extensive, multi-million-dollar refurbishment that will add a wide variety of spaces and innovations, including a spectacular water park, 38 new cabins, 98 balconies to existing staterooms, and an a host of exciting food and beverage concepts.

Following the month-long dry dock, which takes place in Freeport, The Bahamas, Carnival Paradise will resume its year-round schedule of four- to eight-day cruises from Tampa, Fla., March 26, 2018.

The new features include:

• Guy's Burger Joint: a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef's California roots and love of car culture.

• RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside watering hole offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival's own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.

• BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.

• BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin' by the pool.

• Camp Ocean: a colorful marine-inspired play area designed for kids ages 2-11 that showcases the wonders of the sea through fun and engaging interiors and more than 200 ocean-themed activities, including arts and crafts, science-oriented programming, and more.

• New Cabins, Stateroom Enhancements: Thirty-eight cabins have been added – two Grand Vista suites offering floor-to-ceiling windows, 22 junior suites, two scenic ocean view cabins and 12 interior accommodations. Additionally, private verandahs have been added to 98 existing staterooms, creatingspacious new 230-square-foot balcony staterooms. All staterooms will offer new island-inspired interiors with bright colors and soothing pastels inspired by Carnival Paradise's tropical itineraries.

• WaterWorks Aqua Park: Located on Verandah Deck, this expansive all-ages water park features an enclosed 300-foot-long Twister water slide full of exhilarating twists and turns, two 82-foot-long racing slides, and a splash zone for kids.

• Miniature Golf Course: A nine-hole miniature golf course has been relocated to Deck 14, providing a fun and relaxing pastime for families to enjoy in the fresh sea air.

• Retail and Photo Enhancements: The ship's retail shops are being completely reimagined with a new design and enhanced product offerings with multiple brand boutiques, including Pandora and Guess. A guest favorite, the Cherry on Top sweets shop, is also being added, while the printed photo gallery is being replaced with a digital Pixels-branded platform that allows guests to identify and purchase images via their smartphones or at a nearby kiosk.

Carnival Paradise's Tampa-based schedule includes four-day cruises to Cozumel and five-day cruises to Cozumel or Mahogany Bay (Roatan), Grand Cayman or Key West. The ship also sails to Cuba with four-day cruises visiting Havana, five-day cruises calling at Havana and Cozumel or Key West, and eight-day voyages to Havana, Key West and Grand Cayman.

Celebrity Cruises Announce Partnership With Hollywood Hot Glass
Taking the onboard experience to an entirely new level, Celebrity Cruises is pleased to announce the addition of Hollywood Hot Glass onboard their award winning ships, which expands on the brand's previous hot glass programming with a brand new hands-on element.

Hollywood Hot Glass will host a live glassblowing demonstration on The Lawn Club at the beginning of participating sailings. Following the live demo, guests will be able to register for their own Hot Glass Class, available throughout their itinerary, where they'll work with a Hot Glass Instructor to create their very own piece of art.

"We're always working to identify new and exciting opportunities for our guests on board, and we really feel that our new partnership with Hollywood Hot Glass is the perfect evolution of our past hot glass offering," said Brian Abel, Vice President, Hotel Operations, Celebrity Cruises.

"It is a true honor to partner with Celebrity Cruises. We are extremely grateful to have the opportunity to share our passion for glass through our Hot Glass Class program aboard three of the beautiful Celebrity ships. To witness the pure joy the hands on glass-making experience brings everyone is by far the most rewarding aspect of our program today," said Brenna Baker Brown, Founder of Hollywood Hot Glass.

In each class, guests will have the opportunity to choose from eight unique pieces - including a vase, starfish, and a heart, starting at $40 per piece - and choose from a variety of colors. The gorgeous finished product requires a 12-hour cool down period, after which guests are welcome to take their piece home with them.

The new experience will be featured on three ships in the Celebrity fleet and will launch on Celebrity Equinox beginning February 17, 2018, while Celebrity Eclipse will begin offering the program on April 1, 2018, and Celebrity Solstice on June 15, 2018.

Ovation of the Seas Hosts Australia’s Biggest Game of Hide and Seek
Australia’s biggest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas, today hosted Australia’s Biggest Game of Hide and Seek, with Ben Harrison, age 26, from Hornsby NSW, taking home the AUD$10,000 prize, and a family cruise for four, all thanks to his stealthy hiding techniques.

In an Australian first, Aussies aged eight and over boarded the megaship docked in Sydney Harbour to play a huge version of the iconic childhood game, as part of a unique competition to celebrate 10 years of Royal Caribbean sailing Down Under.

“What an amazing day it was. The first ever official game of Hide and Seek on any ship in Australia, and I think it was a massive triumph”, said Ovation of the Seas’ Cruise Director, Joff Eaton.

“Ovation of the Seas is the biggest, newest and most modern cruise ship ever to sail Australian waters, and with features like bumper cars, a Bionic Bar, rock-climbing wall, iFly sky-diving tunnel, FlowRider surf simulator and the North Star viewing capsule, she really was the ultimate location for this supersized game,” continued Joff.

Two games were held – one for adults aged 15 and over and another for kids aged 8-14. Competitors were picked from over 20,000 entrants and came from far and wide; NSW, QLD, NT, SA, WA, VIC - to seek out the best hiding spots onboard in an attempt to outwit the “Seekers”, Australia’s national Hide & Seek team The Nascondingos, who competed in the 2017 annual World Championships in Italy.

12-year-old Ryan S from Kincup in regional QLD took home the kids’ prize which was a family cruise for four, after hiding from the Nascondingos under a couch. Runner up Benjamin H from NSW is also taking his family on a holiday.

Winner of the adults’ game, Ben Harrison aka ‘Big Red’ used sheer distance as his tactic, attempting to get as far away from home base as he could in the allocated hiding time. He chose curtains to hide under in rounds one and two, and in the third – his winning spot – Ben managed to squeeze underneath a table that was concealed by a curtain. After being awarded his novelty size check, Ben said “It’s a pretty big accomplishment. I am very surprised, I still have butterflies in my stomach. I’m very very happy”. He and fiancé Jess will be putting the $10,000 towards their wedding at the end of the year, and will use the cruise for their honeymoon.

The Nascondingos have heralded it their hardest game yet, “There was just a lot of ground to cover. We’re short twitch athletes and we’re used to five-minute rounds. These 20 minute rounds covering eight football fields really put us under pressure. It was far more challenging than we thought it would be. Curtain and couch hiding were the most popular spots” said Alan Jones, Nascondingo’s Captain.

From attempts to host unofficial games in a certain Swedish furniture store, to a campaign for Hide and Seek to appear as an official exhibition sport in Tokyo in 2020, the event took place as the game gains traction as a serious sport among people of all ages.

MC for the day, TV personality Jason Dundas said of the frivolity; “I’ve been travelling the world filming Getaway from over 100 countries for 11 years and I’ve never been on a cooler ship and had more of a fun experience onboard in my life”.

With the ship almost to themselves – minus nearly 5000 guests –the unique competition encapsulates the spirit of Royal Caribbean’s new “Come Seek” brand campaign, inviting Australians to re-consider everything they think they know about cruising – and to come onboard and see for themselves.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 68.64 - 1.24%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 130.40 - 0.97%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.55 - 3.13%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 57.95 - 1.96%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which former Swedish-American liner of 1966 is alive and well sailing today as a cruise ship? What is her current name and what was done in 1978 that forever changed her appearance?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was the name of the first new build for Carnival Cruise Lines and what year did she enter service?

Answer - The first new build for Carnival was the Tropicale in 1981.
courtesy of Nigel Kibel


Cruise News - February 19, 2018

Twenty Three Passengers Kicked Off Carnival Legend For Fighting
A 10-day Carnival Legend voyage was forced to make an emergency stop in Eden, New South Wales where 23 passengers were removed from the ship after they began fighting with other passengers and staff members. Australian police met the ship and unloaded the unruly passengers.

A statement released by the cruise line after the incident noted that "We have a zero-tolerance approach to excessive behavior that affects other guests. In line with this policy, we cooperated fully with local authorities in Australia to remove a large family group who had been involved in disruptive acts aboard the vessel.”

The cruise line also said that “Our security team responded in several instances to extremely unruly behavior by these guests while the ship was at sea. One particular altercation in the nightclub began when the group physically attacked other guests. The actions seen on the video by our security team are not in line with our values and policies. We are conducting a full investigation and will take appropriate corrective action as necessary.”

“All guests were disembarked Saturday, February 17 from the ship in Melbourne, Australia following completion of their 10-day South Pacific cruise. They have been offered a 25 percent future cruise credit as a goodwill gesture.”

“We sincerely regret that the unruly conduct and actions of the passengers removed from the ship in Australia may have prevented some of our guests from fully enjoying their cruise.”

Norwegian Cruise Line Announces Float Out Of Norwegian Bliss
Norwegian Bliss, the third of Norwegian Cruise Line's Breakaway Plus class, emerged from the Meyer Werft building dock in Papenburg, Germany on Saturday, February 17, representing a major milestone in the vessel's construction. The ship will remain in the shipyard port for the final phase of construction, until its conveyance down the River Ems towards the North Sea, scheduled for mid-March. During this time, the first crewmembers will move into their staterooms on board, begin their training, and familiarize themselves with the ship - readying her for the first guests to arrive after delivery in 60 days, on April 19.

The construction of the ship began in October 2016 with the traditional steel cutting ceremony launching the 12th Norwegian Cruise Line ship to be built at the Meyer Werft shipyard. It is the third ship in the Breakaway Plus class, measuring 1,082 feet in length by 136 feet wide, with gross tonnage of 167,800 and accommodating approximately 4,000 guests. Part of the excitement of this float out will be the public debut of the ship's signature hull artwork designed by world-renowned marine life artist and conservationist, Wyland. Best known for his marine life paintings, sculptures and grand scale murals, or "Whaling Walls," Norwegian Bliss' hull design is named "Cruising with the Whales" and features a stunning image of a mother humpback whale and her calf as the centerpiece of the design, representing the beauty of Alaska's wildlife.

Norwegian Bliss will be the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience, including the 180-degree Observation Lounge where guests can enjoy Norwegian's most expansive views at sea. She will also be the first Norwegian Cruise Line ship to make her debut in Seattle, with cruises beginning May 2018. Norwegian Bliss will offer weekly seven-day cruises to see America's last frontier with ports-of-call including Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising.

"Our partners at Meyer Werft have done an excellent job realizing our vision for a ship designed to experience Alaska and the Caribbean like never before," said Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line president and chief executive officer. "We are counting down the days until her official debut in Seattle this summer, where guests will be able to race around the world's largest two-level race track at sea against the backdrop of Alaska'swild frontier, and enjoy other first-at-sea experiences."

Following preview events in New York City, Miami and Los Angeles, Norwegian Bliss will sail into Seattle for her official christening on May 30, with summer cruises to Alaska beginning June 2. She will spend her summer seasons with seven-day cruises to Alaska, and fall seasons sailing to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles. In winter of 2018 she will sail to the Caribbean from Miami, and in the 2019 fall/winter season she will cruise from New York City to Florida, the Bahamas and Caribbean.

Princess Cruises Completes Renovations to Private Island Princess Cays
Princess Cays, an exclusive island destination for Princess Cruises guests, now offers the ultimate fun-in-the-sun experience with program enhancements, renovated areas and newly defined "surfing" with MedallionNet Wi-Fi, the only cruise industry private island to offer connectivity ashore.

Princess Cays was ranked among the "Top Cruise Line Private Island Destinations" for 2017. Located on the southern tip of the island of Eleuthera in the outer Bahamas, Princess Cays has offered a beachside hideaway to guests since 1992. The beach is situated on approximately 40 acres, including more than a mile and a half of pristine, white-sand shoreline and is a featured call on Princess' Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.

"For more than 25 years, Princess guests have lauded Princess Cays as one of their favorite spots on their Caribbean cruise," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "With new and improved island offerings and the addition of MedallionNet Wi-Fi ashore, guests enjoy a memorable beach experience and can easily share their adventures with friends and family back home or stream their favorite show or sports event while relaxing beachside."

Additional Princess Cays enhancements include new shore excursions, refurbished retail and bar areas, shopping, landscape and infrastructure:

• Shore Excursions – On February 17, we introduce our new Lagoon Clear-Bottom Kayaking Adventure, a guided paddle through the Island's lagoon that allows guests to explore the flora and fauna of this unique habitat. In addition, Island Bicycle Adventure offers guests Princess Cays' scenery and history with a leisurely bike ride to some of the town's popular sites. Construction of a new "Davy Jones" water sports rental equipment provides snorkeling and water gear. And new Stingray Beach Encounter allows guests to feed, touch and hold live stingrays. Animal trainers teach guests interesting facts about the behavior of these animals as they reach out to touch their soft wings.

• Princess Cays Shopping – Princess guests enjoy adding meaningful mementos to their journey by visiting the new nautical-themed and "pick-a-pearl" jewelry section within the Bahama Treasure store.

• New Marina – Completion of the marina expansion, including new channel and turning basin depth accommodate larger tenders and smoother disembarkation and embarkation of guests, including a shaded security pre-clearance area.

• Guest Experience Improvements – Guests also enjoy a new information booth with shaded waiting lounge area and a new public announcement and music system; newly painted structures both inside and out with tropical pastel colors; guest services station for towel and water distributions at the Welcome Center; extensive landscaping of all guest areas, including additional planters and newly planted palm trees; and refitted beach bungalows.

Carnival Fascination Retirms to Service Following Multi-Million-Dollar Dry Dock
Carnival Fascination resumed its year-round schedule of seven-day southern Caribbean departures from San Juan this past Sunday, following an extensive multi-million-dollar dry dock that added a variety of popular food and beverage concepts.

On its San Juan-based program, Carnival Fascination departs every Sunday on week-long voyages visiting five tropical destinations: St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and St. Maarten, each of which is home to world-class beaches, centuries-old historical sites, unique and exciting shoreside experiences and array of shopping and dining opportunities.

"We're delighted that the Carnival Fascination has returned to year-round sailing from San Juan better than ever with a wide range of great new dining, beverage and retail options for our guests to enjoy," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line who noted that prior to the dry dock the ship was chartered by FEMA to house relief workers in St. Croix.

The new spaces include:

• Guy's Burger Joint: a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef's California roots and love of car culture.

• RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside watering hole offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival's own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.

• BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.

• BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin' by the pool.

• Cherry on Top: The "sweetest spot on board," Cherry on Top is the gateway to the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun-and-fanciful gifts, just-because novelties, colorful custom apparel and more.

• Alchemy Bar: a vintage-themed cocktail "pharmacy" that's the go-to spot for guests seeking a unique experience with mixologists who "prescribe" concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients or guests' own custom-created cocktails.

• Bonsai Sushi Express: the success of the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurants has spawned this casual, convenient yet equally tasty offshoot featuring a mouth-watering array of sushi, sashimi, rolls and more.

These complement Carnival Fascination's popular onboard features like a luxurious 12,000-square-foot health and wellness center, a Serenity adults-only retreat, and an array of entertainment choices including the Punchliner Comedy Club, Playlist Productions shows, and Hasbro, The Game Show, with larger-than-life adaptations of the company's iconic games.

The ship's family-friendly options include the Seuss at Sea program, an exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, along with fun, supervised activities for kids in three age groups – Camp Ocean (2-11), Circle "C" (12-14) and Club O2 (15-17) and a WaterWorks aqua park featuring a 300-foot-long Twister slide.

Cunard to Commemorate Service of World War II Veterans on July 20 Transatlantic Crossing
In partnership with The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation, Cunard will again pay tribute to the forgotten heroes of World War II, honoring our nation's veterans with a unique enrichment program on board a Queen Mary 2 Transatlantic Crossing that will travel from New York to London on July 20-27, 2018.

On this 7-night voyage, guests will have the opportunity to attend lectures and interact with several WWII veterans, hearing first-hand about their experiences during America's involvement in the war. From the "Battle of the Atlantic," to the conflicts in Normandy and Pearl Harbor, these distinguished war heroes will engage in discussions and Q&A's, giving guests a very personal glimpse into the human elements of wartime service.

"Last year our guests were spellbound by the veterans' moving personal accounts of their wartime service, resulting in standing ovations every day," said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. "Cunard prides itself on offering one-of-a-kind, world class entertainment and enrichment programs, and we are honored to welcome back The Greatest Generations Foundation on the July 20th Transatlantic Crossing."

World War II veterans scheduled to be on board will include:

• Steve Melnikoff, who experienced the full horrors of Normandy when he served in 1st Battalion, 175th Regiment of the 29th Infantry Division and who earned three Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts for his service.

• Stuart Hedley, who served in the United States Navy and recalls leaping from his ship and into the water during Pearl Harbor and coming up amid debris and burning oil and swimming for his life towards the shoreline.

• Harold Angle, who served as First Sergeant E-5 in the 112th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, and who marched down the Champs-Elysées on August 29, 1944 in the Liberation of Paris.

• Michael Ganitch, who served as a Senior Chief Quartermaster in the United States Navy and witnessed Pearl Harbor.

• James Blane, Corporal of the 4th Marine Division of the United States Marine Corps and served in the battles of Kwajalein (Roi-Namur), Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima.

• Peter DuPre, who served as a medic in the 114th General Hospital Unit in Kidderminster, England during WWII, where he treated wounded servicemen from all areas of Europe, including those who had been wounded during the Battle of the Bulge.

• John Foy, who served in the 87th Infantry Division joining General George Patton's Third Army in liberating Europe. John served as a front-line machine gunner in the Battle of Northern France and later the Battle of the Bulge

• Kenneth Barclay, who served as Lieutenant Colonel O-5 in the "Fighting 69th" Regiment, where he served in Hawaii, Saipan and Okinawa during the war.

Q&A's and other discussions with the World War II veterans will cover topics including:

• D-Day: The Invasion of Normandy, 1944

• The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge, 1944

• I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941

• Miracle at Midway, 1942

• Blood Sand: The Battle for Iwo Jima, 1945

• Okinawa 1945: The Last Epic Struggle of World War II

Jeremy Hubbard, current co-anchor of FOX31 Denver News will join the voyage and act as a moderator of the panels and lectures. Prior to joining the FOX31 Denver News team, Hubbard, a native of western Colorado, worked as a New York-based correspondent for ABC News where he contributed and reported for all ABC News broadcasts including: Good Morning America, World News with Dianne Sawyer and Nightline.

Carnival Announces Entertainment Options for New Carnival Horizon
For its newest ship, Carnival Horizon, Carnival Cruise Line's talented in-house entertainment team has partnered with leading creative directors from Broadway, Los Angeles and London's West End to create three brand new shows that are designed to raise the bar on cruise ship entertainment.

Part of the line's popular Playlist Productions revues, the new shows make maximum use of the ship's sophisticated and interactive LED screens while showcasing the talents of the shows' performers to deliver unforgettable evenings of high-caliber entertainment.

Three new shows – Soulbound, Celestial Strings and Vintage Pop – will debut on Carnival Horizon when it enters service in April 2018. A fourth show, Amor Cubano: A Caribbean Dance Romance, has been brought to Carnival Horizon following an incredible debut on Carnival Vista last year.

"Carnival Horizon promises to be a spectacular addition to the fleet and we've made the entertainment and activity options equally spectacular with such an array of fun choices, morning until night," said Sarah Beth Reno, Carnival's vice president of entertainment. "Whether you're enjoying an amazing Playlist Productions show, checking out the hilarious entertainers at the Punchliner Comedy Club or participating in our legendary deck parties, our team will make sure your Carnival Horizon vacation is one you'll never forget," she added.

The Playlist Productions shows on Carnival Horizon include:

• Soulbound: Hosted by Carnival Horizon's very own "soul catcher," this fun, high-energy show offers a gothic-inspired journey through New Orleans with stops at recognizable Crescent City landmarks like a haunted paddlewheel ship, an apothecary shop and cemetery highlighted by levitating chairs and other spookily stunning illusions. As spirits are playfully captured and brought back to life through dazzling special effects, cast members belt out R&B favorites like Superstitious, Soul Man and Born Under a Bad Sign.

• Celestial Strings: Billed as a "breathtaking performance beyond your wildest dreams," Celestial Strings merges the beauty of classical music with modern pop beats that takes place in an elegant and enchanted garden that seamlessly transforms from season to season, stimulating the senses with unbelievable visual imagery, 3D cast interactions and aroma-infused sets to bring the garden to life. The first Playlist Productions show to feature a live string trio, Celestial Strings is truly a multi-sensory symphony for the soul.

• Vintage Pop: Taking viewers back to the Great Gatsby and Cotton Club era with contemporary songs like All About that Bass, That's What I Like and Work transformed into classic jazz interpretations, Vintage Pop features a toe-tapping six-piece live band performing in a modern-day speakeasy. Highlighted by a show-stopping burlesque number that leaves audiences breathless, Vintage Pop ends with a rollicking after party in the atrium where guests can dance and interact with the flapper- and zoot suit-outfitted cast members.

• Amor Cubano: A Caribbean Dance Romance: This exciting get-on-your-feet show blends classic Latin songs with today's hits and features an authentic reproduction of Carnival Horizon's sizzling Havana Bar. The show is highlighted by a seven-piece Cuban-inspired band that performs songs by Gloria Estefan, Celia Cruz and others amid a tropical, multi-hued backdrop of Cuba and Miami, the latter of which will be the ship's eventual year-round homeport. The new shows complement Carnival Horizon's vast array of entertainment offerings which include family-friendly and adults-only performances at the Punchliner Comedy Club and the family-favorite Hasbro, The Game Show, a live action game show incorporating larger-than-life adaptations of popular Hasbro games, along with an IMAX Theatre showcasing first-run blockbusters, documentaries and family favorites, and the multi-sensory Thrill Theater, the latter of which are part of the Carnival Multiplex entertainment concept.

At night, Serenity, the ship's outdoor adults-only retreat, is transformed into a South Beach-style club under the stars complete with spectacular lighting effects and a crowd-pleasing mix of popular music spun by one of Carnival's professional DJ's. Live bands along the promenade, solo artists in the new Smokehouse Brewhouse BBQ restaurant and brewery and the line's legendary deck parties will also be offered.

Carnival Horizon is set to debut April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona – the first of four round-trip departures from that port – then reposition to the U.S. with a 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York May 9-23, 2018.

Following its summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean departures from the Big Apple, Carnival Horizon will shift to Miami and kick off a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning Sept. 22, 2018. Carnival Horizon will also offer a special two-day cruise to Nassau from Miami Sept. 20-22, 2018.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 69.50 + 1.06%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 131.68 + 1.86%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.60 - 3.03%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 59.11 + 2.89%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the name of the first new build for Carnival Cruise Lines and what year did she enter service?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
When Cunard's Queen Mary departed New York for Europe in July of 1943 she carried a record number of passengers and crew - the most of any passenger vessel in war or peace. How many people did she carry on that historic voyage? (note: the closest answer wins this week's contest)

Answer - The Queen Mary set a record on July 25th 1943 sailing from New York to Gourock with 15.740 passengers and a crew of 943 totalling 16.683
courtesy of liberte50 (at) wtal.de


Cruise News - February 12, 2018

Norwegian Cruise Line Announces New Cuba and The Caribbean Itineraries from Miami
Norwegian Cruise Line opened for sale the line's brand-new cruises to Cuba and the Caribbean aboard Norwegian Sun round trip from Miami, Florida. For a limited season this fall, Norwegian Sun will offer cruisers a chance to discover the rich history of Cuba and explore some of the brand's most popular tropical destinations in just one journey on seven, nine and 13-day cruises.

"We are thrilled to reveal Norwegian Sun's new fall 2018 itineraries, which will be the first time our brand has featured a call in Havana, Cuba on seven-day and longer cruises," said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. "These new itineraries offer a remarkable breadth of experiences for guests with a culturally immersive full day and evening in Havana, complemented by several visits to world-class destinations across the Caribbean and beyond."

Norwegian Sun will sail six seven-day cruises from Miami departing on Sundays from September 9 through October 14. From adventurous activities to cultural experiences, Norwegian Sun will cruise to spectacular ports including the upbeat and vibrant Havana, Cuba, Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian's private island in the Bahamas; Costa Maya, Mexico and Harvest Caye, Belize. The ship's nine-day Cuba and the Caribbean cruises will expand upon her seven-day sailings and also include additional visits to Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras and Cozumel, Mexico.

Those dreaming of witnessing the modern marvel of the Panama Canal can do so aboard Norwegian Sun's new 13-day Cuba, Caribbean and the Panama Canal cruise departing from Miami on October 30. This bucket-list vacation will offer an ideal mix of culture, leisure activities and adventure experiences as the ship journeys from the Caribbean to Central and South America and back again visiting eight incredible destinations including Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Cartagena and Santa Marta, Colombia and Oranjestad, Aruba, among others.

Norwegian Cruise Line has also added a new five-day cruise to Cuba and the Bahamas from Port Canaveral on September 3. The new cruise will round out the ship's season sailing from the Space Coast with an afternoon visit to the southernmost city of Key West, Florida then head to Havana for an overnight stay in the historical city, followed by a beach day at the private-island paradise of Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.

All of Norwegian Sun's recently released cruises will visit the incredibly popular destinations of Havana, Cuba and Harvest Caye, Belize. While in Cuba, Norwegian Sun sails into the very heart of Havana, providing guests with the opportunity to visit historical sites such as Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; view incredible art and visit Cuba's warm and friendly residents through people-to-people exchanges – all just steps away from the comfort of the ship. Norwegian offers a selection of 13 half and full-day OFAC-compliant shore excursions, where guests have the chance to have a farm-to-table dining experience or explore modern Havana in an American classic car and discover the arts, culture, dance and cinematic masterpieces of Fabrica de Arte Cubano on an exclusive private tour.

Located one mile off the coast of Southern Belize, Harvest Caye, is a resort-style destination where guests can lounge along the expansive pristine beach or at the 15,000 square-foot pool with a swim-up bar, enjoy a nature center with wildlife and reptiles or opt for an adrenalin rush zip line adventure at the 130 ft. tall Flighthouse, among many other on-island attractions. Those who want to explore mainland Belize have several convenient options from Harvest Caye including the island ferry, rainforest tubing or private boat excursions.

Carnival Significantly Expands Its West Coast Presence
Carnival Cruise Line today announced several significant initiatives designed to further bolster its leadership position on the West Coast: the deployment of Carnival Panorama to Long Beach in 2019 – the first new Carnival ship based in Southern California in 20 years; the grand re-opening of its 146,000-square-foot state-of-the-art Long Beach Cruise Terminal, and a multi-million-dollar port development project in Ensenada, Mexico, that will provide guests with one-of-a-kind experiences ashore.

The announcement was made by Carnival President Christine Duffy in Long Beach, California at a VIP ceremony officially unveiling the enhancements to the newly upgraded cruise terminal with travel agents, port officials, local dignitaries and media in attendance.

"This is a momentous occasion for both Carnival and the City of Long Beach – not only are we celebrating the grand re-opening of this magnificent cruise terminal, but also demonstrating our commitment to the West Coast with the deployment of the spectacular new Carnival Panorama in 2019 and the announcement of an exciting new port development project in Ensenada," said Duffy. "The West Coast is an important market with vast growth potential and these initiatives further demonstrate the confidence in our future success in Long Beach. We are very much looking forward to having Carnival Panorama homeported here beginning next year."

"The expansion of the terminal and arrival of this exciting new ship is great news for the city of Long Beach, underscoring Carnival's longstanding commitment to our community while adding additional opportunities for growing our economy and promoting all that our wonderful city has to offer," said Robert Garcia, mayor of Long Beach. "Carnival has been an excellent partner for 15 years and we look forward to working with them for many years to come."

Carnival Panorama to the West Coast

In 2019, Carnival will make history when it deploys its third Vista-class ship, the 3,960-passenger Carnival Panorama, on seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach, providing an exciting new seagoing vacation option to this vital and fast-growing market.

Like its name implies, Carnival Panorama will include venues offering both indoor and al fresco experiences, including the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Library Bar, and Bonsai Sushi, along with open-air attractions like the groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction SkyRide, a massive WaterWorks aqua park, and the SportSquare recreation area.

Also featured will be a vibrant Havana section with tropics-inspired staterooms and its own Cuban-themed bar and pool, Family Harbor featuring extra-roomy accommodations, the Family Harbor Lounge, and Ocean Plaza, a spacious dining and entertainment venue with indoor and outdoor seating. Other innovations unique to Carnival Panorama will be announced in the near future.

Expanded and Redesigned New Long Beach Cruise Terminal

Carnival's Long Beach Cruise Terminal – the busiest in North America with ships docking five days a week representing a 70% utilization rate – has been operated by Carnival since 2003 and encompasses the world's largest, free-span geodesic dome originally built to house also Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose plane and served as the location for many famous Hollywood movies.

With the expansion, Carnival is now utilizing 100% of the dome, up from a portion, for its operations. The renovation of the Long Beach Cruise Terminal more than doubles the size of the facility's space while dramatically enhancing the overall passenger experience and operational flow. It also includes the expansion of portside shore power to enable larger ships to plug into the local electric grid, reducing exhaust emissions while docked.

The terminal's striking design features California's recognizable landmarks, bringing indoors the state's iconic natural elements, including a backdrop of the majestic Sierra Nevada mountain range. In a nod to the dome's former tenant, a replica of the Spruce Goose hangs from above, as well as the original model of the plane used in the 2004 movie, "The Aviator." The dome also includes the cruise industry's first 1980s-style arcade which is available for families to enjoy.

"This project is many years in the making and Carnival's Long Beach Cruise Terminal is one of the most visually striking and efficient facilities of its kind, providing a seamless embarkation for our guests while making a tremendous economic impact on the Southern California region," said Carlos Torres de Navarra, Carnival's vice president, strategic and commercial port development.

Arrival of Carnival Splendor to Long Beach

The grand re-opening of the terminal coincides with the arrival of Carnival Splendor to Long Beach, which operates seven-day cruises to Mexico and longer-length voyages to Alaska and Hawaii, representing a 40 percent capacity increase on this route.

The 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor is currently the largest ship based year-round in Southern California and offers a variety of onboard amenities, including a 22,750-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa, a reservations-only steakhouse serving prime dry-aged beef and other gourmet fare, a sliding magrodome covering the main pool area, and nearly 600 balcony staterooms.

Carnival Splendor joins Carnival Imagination and Carnival Inspiration which sail three- and four-day cruises to Ensenada and Catalina Island. Together, these three ships carry approximately 600,000 guests annually from Southern California on more than 250 three- to 14-day cruises, offering an unbeatable mix of destinations that appeal to a broad range of consumers, including families seeking an attractive and affordable vacation option.

Exciting Port Development Project in Ensenada

Carnival officials also announced a major port development project in Ensenada, Mexico, currently featured on the line's three- and four-day cruises from Long Beach. The project will provide guests visiting the destination with an unparalleled, one-of-a-kind dining and retail experiences ashore, along with unique attractions for guests of all ages to enjoy. Details about the development will be announced at a later date.

"This project will provide our guests with a truly unique shoreside experience while making our short cruises from Long Beach even more attractive to consumers," said Torres de Navarra. "This port development project will make Ensenada one of the West Coast's premier destinations."

Seabourn Delivers Expansive 2018 Season
Seabourn is gearing up to allow guests to immerse themselves in the best of Europe in 2018. Following the launch of the line's newest ship, Seabourn Ovation, in May this year, travelers will be able to enjoy an expanded menu of more than 41 individual departures. Across the fleet, four of Seabourn's five ships will visit more than 175 different European destinations on cruises spanning seven to 45 days. From the Aegean and the Greek Isles in the east, to the grand cities and picturesque harbors of the Western Mediterranean, there is something in store for every type of traveler.

"Seabourn has always been welcomed warmly in Europe, and guests will see a variety of opportunities to experience the many natural and cultural wonders across the continent," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "With the launch of Seabourn Ovation, added overnight stays, and select itineraries enhanced with special onboard programming and optional for-charge Ventures by Seabourn expeditions in Northern Europe on select voyages, there will be more of those opportunities this year than ever before."

The 2018 season in Europe will offer more than a dozen new and notable ports of call that Seabourn either hasn't previously visited or hasn't been back to in years, including Hamburg, Wismar and Bremerhaven, Germany; Szczecin, Poland; Turku, Finland; Rijeka, Croatia; Tasiilaq, Skjoldungen Fjord, and Maniitsoq, Greenland; and Seydisfjordur, Djupivogur, Grundarfjordur and Siglufjodur, Iceland.

In recent years, travelers have increasingly begun to discover the natural splendors and Viking history concentrated in Iceland and Greenland. These remote destinations are never more appealing than in summer, when massive populations of migrant birds and other wildlife gather in the long, lingering sunlight. Seabourn has laid out brand-new itineraries for Seabourn Quest this summer, taking full advantage of the region's unspoiled grandeur with a veteran expedition team of naturalists and other experts that includes Dr. Colleen Batey, an archaeologist specializing in the area's rich indigenous and Viking legacies.

Meanwhile, new and not-to-be missed highlights for Seabourn ships in Europe include:

• Seabourn Ovation will spend most of its maiden season in the waters of Northern Europe following the ship's launch in May 2018, exploring the Baltic, Scandinavia and the United Kingdom. The ship will offer a series of seven-day Baltic and Scandinavian cruises between Copenhagen and Stockholm, which will include the line's signature three-day stay in St. Petersburg, Russia. Seabourn Ovation will also sail on longer 14-day voyages, visiting the majestic Norwegian fjords and British Isles, as well as a unique 14-day spring voyage from Amsterdam to Copenhagen, with overnight stays in Hamburg and Stockholm. Guests on the August 4, 2018 itinerary will also have the chance to book a shore excursion, including a limited number of VIP seats, to see the world-famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, a truly unforgettable evening experience.

• Seabourn Quest will debut a series of 15-day voyages between Dover, Reykjavik and Copenhagen featuring adventurous optional Ventures by Seabourn expedition-style excursions in select destinations.

• Seabourn Encore will sail a high-summer series of 7 to 11 day sailings, including 7-day itineraries between Rome and Barcelona visiting marquee ports and hidden harbors along the French and Italian Rivieras.

• Seabourn Odyssey will explore the Adriatic and Aegean Seas from Venice to Athens during summer, with visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites at nearly every port of call.

Noteworthy voyages include:

• Viking Ventures: Three voyages on Seabourn Quest, all with engaging itineraries including robust optional for-charge Ventures by Seabourn expedition style excursion programming: 15-Day British Isles & Iceland (May 17-June 1) – Depart Dover to take in ports throughout the United Kingdom including Bristol (Bath) England; Milford Haven, Wales; Douglas on Isle of Man; Belfast, Northern Ireland; and Greenock (Glasgow), Oban, Fort William, and Portree (Isle of Skye), Scotland. The cruise will then head into the North Atlantic to explore Seydisfjordur, Djupivogur, Heimaey and Grundarfjordur, Iceland.

• 15-Day Iceland & North Cape Quest (June 1-16) – Board in Reykjavik and head out to four Icelandic ports including Vigur, Isafjordur, Akureyri and Siglufjorour. Following two days at sea, the ship will arrive in Norway with stops at Tromso, Storstappen Island, Honningsvag, Hammerfest, Harstad, Bronnoysund, Stavanger and Arendal, including a day of scenic cruising along the North Cape. Wind up in Denmark with visits to Arhus and Copenhagen.

• 15-Day Norway & Northern Isles (June 16-July 1) – Departing from Copenhagen, the ship will visit Aalborg, Denmark, and then head to Norway with stops at Kristiansand, Rosendal, Ulvik, Eidfjord, Bergen and Skjolden. A day at sea will wind up at Runavik, Faroe, followed by the Isle of Noss and Lerwick in the Shetland Islands; Copinsay Island, Kirkwall and Ullapool in Scotland; and Newcastle upon Tyne, Great Yarmouth and Dover in England.

Extended Arctic Crossing: Seabourn Quest will offer an ambitious adventure through the north. The ship's 45-Day Atlantic Isles Quest (July 16-August 30) will depart Dover (London), England, bound for Montreal, Quebec, Canada, with many destinations in between, including Skomer Island, Wales; Douglas, Isle of Man; Rothesay, Isle of Bute, Scotland; scenic cruising of Boreay & Stac Lee; Copinsay Island, Kirkwall, and Isle of Noss in Scotland; Lerwick in the Shetland Islands and Torshavn in the Faroe Islands. There will be six ports of call in Iceland; eight ports in Greenland including Tasiilaq, Skjoldungen Fjord, Nuuk (Godthab) and Sisimiut (Holsteinsborg); and two full weeks of cruising along the Atlantic edge of Canada with highlights including Monumental Island in Nunavut, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Red Bay in Labrador; the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Quebec City. Segments of this voyage are also available: a 21-Day sailing from Dover to Reykjavik, and a 24-Day sailing from Reykjavik to Montreal.

Coastal Voyages from the Mediterranean to Northern Europe:

• 15-Day Gems of Iberia & France (May 2-17) – Start deep in the Mediterranean at Barcelona, Spain and circle the Iberian Peninsula bound for England aboard Seabourn Quest. Ports will include Valencia, Ibiza, Malaga, Cadiz (Seville) and Vigo, Spain; Portimao, Lisbon, and Leixoes (Porto), Portugal; two days at the dazzling "City of Light," Rouen (Paris), plus a day of scenic cruising on the Seine River before visiting Cherbourg (Normandy) and a final stop in Dover (London).

• 14-Day Vintage Europe (May 26-June 9) – This two-week voyage aboard Seabourn Ovation will head north from Lisbon with stops at Gijon and Bilbao, Spain; Hendaye (Biarritz), Bordeaux, La Rochelle and a day cruising the Gironde Estuary in France; St. Marys in the Isles of Scilly and Dartmouth in England; Zeebrugge (Brussels), Belgium; and Vlissingen (Flushing), before arriving in Ijmuiden (Amsterdam), Netherlands.

HAL's Nieuw Statendam to Explore Norway, the Baltic, Iceland and the Mediterranean in 2019
Following an inaugural season island-hopping throughout the Caribbean, Holland America Line's Nieuw Statendam will cross the Atlantic Ocean in late April 2019 and spend the summer and fall exploring northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

The new Pinnacle Class ship will homeport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, for the summer. Offering an enchanting collection of seven- and 14-day itineraries to the Norwegian Fjords, the Baltic, Iceland and North Cape, Nieuw Statendam will visit some of the most scenic and culturally rich ports in the region.

In September the ship will head to the warm waters of the Mediterranean on a 12-day cruise from Amsterdam to Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy. Three 10-day cruises roundtrip from Civitavecchia will explore the eastern and western Mediterranean. The ship then departs Civitavecchia Oct. 27 for a 14-day cruise back to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"Holland America Line is known for offering incredible itineraries that deeply immerse our guests in the places we visit, and for Nieuw Statendam's inaugural season in Europe we crafted cruises that will deliver an unforgettable experience," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "By offering nearly six months of cruising in the region, we're able to take the ship from Iceland to Greece and everywhere in between. We encourage everyone to book early because interest has been remarkably high for our newest ship."

Nieuw Statendam Showcases Norway in Summer 2019
Once arriving in Amsterdam, Nieuw Statendam will cruise seven- and 14-day itineraries. Two different seven-day itineraries offering nine departures from May through September call at some of the country's most popular ports and feature multiple scenic cruising experiences.

A longer 14-day Norwegian exploration departs June 9 and July 7, featuring eight ports in Norway while crossing into the Arctic Circle. Guests also will enjoy scenic cruising in Hardangerfjord, Geirangerfjord, the North Cape and Sognefjord.

British Isles and Baltic Round Out Nieuw Statendam Europe Highlights
The Baltic awaits Nieuw Statendam guests on two 14-day itineraries in May and August, also sailing roundtrip from Amsterdam. The ship calls at the most sought-after ports in the region, with visits to Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark; Warnemünde (Berlin) and Kiel (Hamburg), Germany; Tallinn, Estonia; St. Petersburg (overnight), Russia; Helsinki, Finland; and Stockholm, Sweden.

Travelers looking to visit the British Isles and Iceland can embark Nieuw Statendam Aug. 4 for a 14-day cruise to Newcastle upon Tyne, England; South Queensferry (Edinburgh), Scotland, for an overnight permitting guests to attend the Edinburgh Military Tattoo if they would like; Reykjavik (overnight), Isafjordur and Akureyri, Iceland; and Ålesund and Bergen, Norway.

Mediterranean Cruises in the Fall Span the Region
In September, Nieuw Statendam sails from Amsterdam to Civitavecchia on a 12-day journey that visits Ireland, Portugal and four ports in Spain. The ship then offers two 10-day cruises roundtrip from Civitavecchia to Croatia, Montenegro, Greece and Italy, while another 10-day itinerary visits ports in Spain, Gibraltar, France, Monaco and Italy.

On Oct. 27 the ship repositions to Fort Lauderdale on a 14-day voyage that crosses the Atlantic Ocean following calls at Cartagena, Málaga (Granada) and Cádiz, Spain; and Ponta Delgada, Azores.

The Premiere Voyage and Inaugural Caribbean Season  Nieuw Statendam's Premiere voyage will depart Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, Dec. 5, 2018, for a 14-day transatlantic crossing to Fort Lauderdale. The ship will spend the winter, holiday and spring seasons cruising roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on three or four-day Bahamas sailings, seven-day eastern or western Caribbean cruises and one 10-day southern Caribbean itinerary.

Travelers looking to spend more time on board and experience the new ship can choose from 11- to 17-day Collectors' Voyages that combine back-to-back Caribbean itineraries. All of Nieuw Statendam's Caribbean cruises feature a call at Holland America Line's award-winning private Bahamian island, Half Moon Cay, known for its pristine beaches, exciting shore excursions, exclusive beach cabanas and child-friendly activities.

Princess Cruises Announces Locally Inspired West Coast Culinary Cruise
Princess Cruises announced today its fourth Culinary Cruise featuring noted food journalist Bill Esparza. The culinary cruise sails the west coast departing out of Los Angeles on Ruby Princess March 22 – 26, 2018. Esparza brings along notable chefs Sabina Bandera and Carlos Salgado to collaborate with the award-winning Princess Cruises culinary team for a week of unique gastronomy experiences including chef-led cooking demonstrations, tequila tastings and cocktail making tutorials, custom shore excursions and Q+A sessions.

"I am honored to work with Princess Cruises to bring Mexican flavors and culture to life through authentic culinary programming," said Bill Esparza. "Princess has a thoughtful approach to immersing guests in its destinations and connecting them to the culture and local food."

Bill Esparza is recent winner of a James Beard award for his coverage of the L.A. taco scene in Los Angeles Magazine and is considered one of the country's leading experts on Mexican food. A noted saxophone player, Esparza has traveled and eaten extensively throughout Mexico, Latin America, and, of course, Southern California.

Guests onboard will have the opportunity to experience special menus throughout the ship's restaurant and bars and learn valuable cuisine skills to bring home with them from our guest chefs who have a varied but traditional background:

Sabina Bandera is the Queen of the Cart, La Guerrerense, whose tostadas de mariscos have been proclaimed among the best in the world by the "Sultan of Street Food" himself, Anthony Bourdain. Plain, simple, humble and delicious have been La Guerrerense's trademarks since she arrived at her food cart in Ensenada when she was 21 years old.

Named Food & Wine Best New Chef in 2015, Chef Carlos Salgado opened Taco María in 2013. He decided to honor his family's culture and legacy by making Mexican-inspired food with a reverence for its origin and roots. Using the best ingredients available and applying the techniques and values he learned in Michelin-starred restaurants, Salgado works to create a syncretic Alta California cuisine that represents Mexican food by putting real corn at the foundation.

"Bill Esparza has been lauded as the 'go to' expert of Latin American food and culture in the United States," said Gordon Ho, Princess Cruises senior vice president, global marketing. "As we sail down the coast to Mexico, our guests will enjoy hearing about his food experiences and stories of learning about Mexican food in his grandmother's kitchen. It's these types of authentic connections that unite and enrich us when we travel."

Guests will experience the best of the west coast with Princess Cruises on this four-day, four-port California-Mexico cruise.

More Popular than Ever, Cruising's Biggest Fans Now Include Millennials
Cruising no longer is just the fastest growing part of the vacation industry. It is now one of the hottest vacations for millennials, who represent a primary and often elusive target for marketers across industries.

In the 2018 Cruise Travel Report prepared for Cruise Lines International Association, based on a survey by JD Power, cruising was the top vacation choice in every age range – and millennials are the group most likely to say they either "definitely will" or "probably will" book a cruise for their next vacation. Overall, an impressive 94 percent of millennials say they are likely to book a cruise for their next vacation.

Considering that millennials are the first generation to have gone on cruises with their parents, perhaps it should be no surprise that now, as young adults, sometimes on limited budgets, they are one of the reasons why cruising is rising in popularity among people of all ages.

In addition to contemporary brands such as Carnival Cruise Line and Costa Cruises, the younger set also is showing an interest in premium products such as Princess Cruises and Holland America Line. A growing number of millennials are even splurging on ultra-luxury cruises such as on the small ships of Seabourn, as they are discovering plenty of choices in terms of cruise products and travel experiences.

Why are people in their 20s and 30s keen on cruises as a vacation choice? Here's what some millennial cruisers say.

For Meghan Jaworski, 32, the big attraction of cruise vacations includes value and affordability. "I am pretty cheap sometimes, so everything for one price, that all-inclusive feeling, and the fact that before you go on a vacation you know how much you've paid for your accommodations, food, activities and nightlife is a big selling point for me," says Jaworski, an auditor from Bridgewater, N.J. "I love the casino. I also love the food, which is huge for me. And I love the shows because I am a big Broadway fan. I also like the entertainment throughout. You can go sit at different bars, go hear the piano player, go to another lounge and there's a comedian. It's just constant live entertainment."

Jaworski, who started cruising when she was a kid with her family, still likes to cruise with family and friends. These days that includes her husband, though she admits he and she have different styles of cruising. She likes rest and relaxation, while he likes exploring. "I like to lay by the pool all day," she laughs. Like many other millennials, Jaworski also likes the fact that cruises provide an opportunity to visit a variety of destinations, some with late stays or overnights in port so guests can experience local nightlife.

Experiences drive Kara Yaquinta, 21, a content strategist at a Miami marketing firm, to choose cruises as her vacation favorite. She says discovering new things is exactly what she and her friends are seeking. You go on a weeklong cruise and they have good wine, all these drinks and craft cocktails, the spa, food, shows, you get to dress up," she says. "You then get to go to the ports of call where you can do really fun things like jet ski or zipline. That's the appealing part of it. It's all those things in one place." On a recent cruise, Yaquinta visited Roatan, Honduras, where she enjoyed a particularly memorable shore excursion.

"Ziplining there was one of the most fun things I've ever gotten to do," she recalls. "It was so different. Honduras is a mountainous, tropical place and in one part on the zipline the trees opened up and it was a breathtaking scape, the tops of the trees, and you could feel the crisp wind and see clouds over the crystal clear, blue water. It was perfect. For 10 seconds the world just stopped." Yaquinta quickly shared the experience with friends. "I was all over it," she laughs, noting how shipboard Wi-Fi is now both faster and affordable.

"Every time I go on a cruise I purchase a social internet package, and as soon as I was back on the ship I put the ziplining experience all on social media, Snapchat. It's really weird how it is. You want to put it online because it's like "Look what I'm doing, what are you doing?" She says she tends to run into more people her age on shorter, three-, four- and five-day cruises, especially during spring break season in late February, March and April, though she also enjoys longer sailings.

Her preferred place to hang out shipboard is at the comedy club, such as the popular Punchliner on Carnival Cruise Line. "It's my favorite thing to do," Yaquinta says. "I always laugh every time. That's where everybody flocks these days, to the comedy club not just the nightclub. It's like a new trend." She's also a big fan of cruise ship spas, always booking a package that combines a massage and facial, and sometimes sampling other treatments. "I recently did a three-day cruise with my mom and we tried out the pedicures on the ship," she says. "Let me just tell you, it was the best pedicure I have ever had in my life. They took so much time and the spa had floor-to-ceiling windows, so you looked out on the ocean while you were getting a pedicure. It was just so relaxing."

Says Yaquinta, "My Instagram consists of my vacations."

In Europe, Lorna-Marie Abend, 23, of Hamm, Germany, enjoyed cruising so much she went to work as a travel consultant onboard the AIDAprima, one of the latest ships of German line AIDA Cruises, one of the 10 brands of Carnival Corporation, the world's largest cruise company. Abend says the selling points for millennials include the fact that cruises are affordable, casual and active, during the day and well into the night. "In addition to theme parties and nightlife are trendy brands such as Moet Chandon champagne," she says. "Cocktail and sushi-making workshops provide a learning experience. And shore excursions are exactly what adventure-seeking millennials are looking for. For example, you can go biking, canyoning or on a tour in an open-air ATV."

Travel agent, Matthew Wahlgren, 36, of Ticket to Travel in San Jose, Calif., says he steers millennial clients to cruises for both the food and nightlife. "A lot of these cruises nowadays have great food options, including the opportunity to upgrade to specialty dining and sample the cuisine of a celebrity chef, that's a main selling point," Wahlgren says. "I also tell my clients that the cool part about ocean cruising is you get to visit some really cool destinations, but the ship itself is also a fun experience. In some land destinations there is nothing to do at night. On a ship there is always something to do at night."

For Scott Bagwill, 26, a special education teacher and football coach in Woodstock, Ga., the best thing about cruising is the social aspect. He has done 10 Carnival Cruise Line cruises, sailing with family and friends, and recently did his first solo cruise, a weeklong New Year's cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy out of Charleston. "I was nervous at first," he says, "but I joined a Facebook group and met a bunch of awesome people and when we did a meet-and-greet people invited me to have dinner with them, go play in the casino, go see the shows. Even though I was technically cruising by myself, I wasn't cruising by myself."

This month, Bagwill will cruise with a friend he met on a ship in June. "Now his family and me and my family are best friends," he says. "I called and said I am going on a cruise for eight days, do you want to come along, and he said, 'How much do I owe you?'" Bagwill says he was in nursery school when he did his first cruise, and what he remembers most about that sailing is the free 24-hour ice cream and pizza.

Times have changed, somewhat.

"I'm a big guy and I try to watch what I eat, but on my cruise over New Year's this year every night at 1 a.m. or 1:30 we were always getting pizza before we went to bed," he says. "It became a ritual. Late night after having lots of fun at the comedy club, the dance club, the pizza had to be had." Another thing that draws him back to cruising as his vacation choice is the crew. "They are awesome," Bagwill says. "They work hard and at the end of the day everyone has a smile on their face." He also enjoys arriving in a port city a day ahead of time to discover the place – which is what he did on his sailing from Charleston.

And then there is the fact there's a cruise for every taste and pocket book.

"Last year was my year of 'yes,' and I did two cruises," he says. "I tell people that even though you are 26 years old or a millennial, if you work hard and save your money right you can go off and travel. Cruising is my type of vacation and it will always be my type of vacation. It's inclusive. You don't have to worry about cooking, you don't have to worry about cleaning, you don't have to worry about laundry, I mean, come on. It's the best vacation ever."

Here are seven reasons millennials choose to cruise:

• Accommodations, meals, activities and entertainment included in the cruise fare.

• Shorter cruises appeal to young travelers seeking affordability, while longer cruises provide an easy way to see the world – including exotic places as Cuba, Europe and the South Pacific.

• Convenient homeports mean many people can get to the ship, and to places such as the Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, or Alaska without having to deal with the cost and hassle of flying.

• Cruise ship cuisine appeals to those seeking new tastes, including everything from sushi to gourmet burgers to elaborate multi-course menus in dining rooms and specialty restaurants.

• Fast internet access makes it easy to post real-time photos and videos showing that you are doing exciting things and visiting exiting places, and also stream TV shows, movies and music.

• Wellness and self-discovery are part of the cruise ship equation, including at state-of-the-art spas and fitness centers with ocean views.

• Cruises are a unique way to sample and discover new destinations in an easy, convenient way while only unpacking once, including the city where your ship embarks.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 68.77 + 1.07%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 129.27 + 3.11%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.65 - 6.25%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 57.45 + 0.88%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
When Cunard's Queen Mary departed New York for Europe in July of 1943 she carried a record number of passengers and crew - the most of any passenger vessel in war or peace. How many people did she carry on that historic voyage? (note: the closest answer wins this week's contest)

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which ocean liner and cruise ship has the distinction of having sailed with one, two and three funnels over her long career?

Answer - The Furness-Bermuda lines was the only passanger/cruise ship to sail with one, two and three funnels during her long career. She was built in the early thirties as a three funneled liner. During WWII she served as a troopship with only two funnels. After the war she returned to service as a three funnel ship. In the early sixties she was refitted and came out as a single funnel liner. This made her look similar to her more modern sistership the Ocean Monarch.
courtesy of Larry P. MacDonald


Cruise News - February 5, 2018

Cockatoo Takes a Cruise
Having flown the coop for a cruise adventure of her own, Harri the stowaway galah, a rose-breasted female cockatoo native to Australia, has been returned to her family by Princess Cruises for a joy-filled reunion at the Portside Cruise Terminal in Brisbane.

The adventure all started as Michelle and Brett Cozzi along with four-year-old daughter Georgia were packing for a cruise vacation. The Cozzi's beloved bird, Harri, was accidentally set free from her cage and flew away from the suburban town of Nundah, Queensland, Australia and presumed never to be seen again. The family was devastated, but little did they know, Harri was about to take a cruise vacation of her own.

Sea Princess, one of Princess Cruises 17 ships, was sailing the Tasman Sea when crew members came across the beautiful bird. Officers had Harri scanned for a microchip, and discovered the bird was the family pet. The officers made her an honorary crew member with her own laminated crew identification card. Harri enjoyed the remainder of her cruise vacation on Sea Princess complete with her own stateroom, daily meals and world-class service.

Meanwhile, as the Cozzi family was enjoying their cruise on sister line P&O's Pacific Aria off Queensland, word was received from Australian Agriculture Department officials that Harri had been found, and to the entire family's shock, was on her own cruise adventure to New Zealand.

Once back on land and awaiting her return, the Cozzi family learned of Harri's fantastic journey. During her 14-day New Zealand cruise odyssey, Sea Princess Environmental Officer Tibor Filipovic was Harri's friendly onboard guardian under the watchful eye of the ship's Master, Princess Cruises Commodore Giuseppe Romano, as they followed the strict biosecurity guidelines that enabled fully fledged Australian bird citizen Harri to return home.

Commodore Romano and Environmental Officer Filipovic said they were pleased to be able to care for Harri during her stay on Sea Princess, and looked forward to returning her to her Brisbane family, despite the crew who has grown fond of their Aussie shipmate.

"The entire ship's company has come to love Harri and she has been a very good shipmate and no trouble at all," Commodore Romano said. "But we could also see that Harri was missing her human family, so it was a great pleasure to be able to reunite them."

As the journey came to an end, the Cozzi family delivered Harri's birdcage to the terminal where Sea Princess docked, and then waited patiently while Harri received a pre-disembarkation veterinary check, which, as expected, she passed with flying colors.

"We are very excited to have Harri home because she is a much loved member and indispensable part of our family," Michelle Cozzi said. "We'd hoped for her safe return but after Harri had been gone for a few days, it wasn't looking good. It was amazing to discover she had been found on another cruise ship. It was just the best news possible."

Harri's return is the result of a joint effort by Princess Cruises, the Sea Princess crew, and government authorities on both sides of the Tasman Sea. The groups worked together to ensure biosecurity requirements were strictly followed so that Harri could come home.

"We are pleased to contribute to such a positive outcome in a story that has captured the imagination of so many people here and around the world," said Stuart Allison, Princess Cruises senior vice president. "The Sea Princess team set the scene for today's family reunion with the professional way in which they responded to Harri's discovery on their ship."

"It has also been a great pleasure to work cooperatively with the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries and the Australian Department of Agriculture to happily resolve Harri's stowaway adventure."

This story goes to show that not only people 'flock' to Princess Cruises.

Carnival Splendor To Reposition To Sydney In 2019
Carnival Cruise Line has announced that the 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor will reposition to Sydney in 2019, becoming the newest and largest ship based year-round in Australia.

More than 800,000 Australians have cruised with Carnival since the company launched its Australia program five years ago with year-round sailings of Carnival Spirit. Carnival Legend also operates seasonal departures from Sydney. The arrival of Carnival Splendor to Sydney represents a 66% capacity increase for Carnival Cruise Line in Australia.

Carnival Splendor will undergo a significant bow-to-stern upgrade that will add features catering to Australian guests, including a variety of new dining experiences tailored to local tastes and a brand-new waterpark.

The 113,300-ton vessel will make her maiden voyage from Sydney in December 2019 following a repositioning cruise from Singapore.

Carnival Splendor currently operates seven-day Mexican Riviera and longer length voyages to Alaska and Hawaii from Long Beach, Calif. Another Carnival Cruise Line ship will be replacing Carnival Splendor on its Long Beach cruise program and will be announced in the near future.

Royal Caribbean Invites Travelers To Amp Up Their Weekends
Royal Caribbean International is inviting adventure seekers to break out of their ordinary routine and take their weekends to new heights with the debut of the reimagined Mariner of the Seas. After an extensive $90 million makeover, Mariner will offer the chance to do, see and experience more than any quick getaway has ever done before. Beginning in June 2018, adventurers can enjoy 3- and 4-night Bahamas escapes from PortMiami to Nassau and CocoCay – Royal Caribbean's private island destination – where they will experience a variety of new thrills, heart-pumping nightlife and exotic culinary creations that will leave them with a list of brag worthy weekend memories.

"At Royal Caribbean, we believe in the constant pursuit of adventure and that every weekend is an opportunity to experience something new and live life to its fullest," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "With the new Mariner of the Seas, we invite travelers to weekend like they really mean it and make the most of a quick getaway than they even thought was possible."

Out-of-this-World Thrills
Thrill seekers won't want to miss Sky Pad, a brand new virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience on Mariner of the Seas. Guests will strap in and don their virtual reality headset to transport them to another time and planet to bounce over moon craters or compete in intergalactic games. The out-of-this-world experience is for guests of all ages, and also can be enjoyed without virtual reality headsets, for those who prefer to look out over the ocean as they leap toward the sky.

Mariner will see the addition of several recent Royal Caribbean innovations following the extensive modernization, including The Perfect Storm, a duo of racing waterslides called Cyclone and Typhoon, and a glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience in Studio B, where friends and family can team up to play "Battle for Planet Z." Mariner will offer Puzzle Break: The Observatorium, a new escape room experience where competitors can put their minds to the test, working together to find hidden clues and solve a series of high-tech riddles to unravel a mystery. With only 60 minutes of play, the excitement builds with each tick of the clock. Guests also will have the chance to catch a wave with another added Royal Caribbean-favorite, the new, 40-foot-long FlowRider surf simulator.

Reinvented Nightlife
The adventure doesn't stop when the sun goes down – The Bamboo Room, an all-new Polynesian-themed watering hole found only on Mariner, will be the coolest bar on anyone's must-do list. The retro lounge will heat up the ship's already vibrant nightlife scene with its tiki-chic décor. Guests can choose their favorite specialty handcrafted cocktails to sip and savor, plus, make their friends jealous with Instagram-worthy moments throughout the kitschy-cool, uniquely styled space. For sports fans, Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade is the place to be on game nights, where they can enjoy all the biggest live sporting events over ice-cold brews, wings, sliders and more.

Can't Miss Culinary Creations
For those looking for an adventure of the taste buds on their getaway, Mariner will not disappoint, with new culinary offerings added to its lineup. Jamie's Italian offers Chef Jamie Oliver's rustic Italian dishes made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, including delicious pastas made in-house daily. Caffeine junkies will be able to get their fix at Starbucks even at sea, and sushi fans can enjoy Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, offering exotic made-to-order hot and cold dishes á la carte.

The 15-deck Mariner of the Seas will continue to offer an array of signature Royal Caribbean experiences, including a Studio B ice-skating rink, a 40-foot rock-climbing wall, a nine-hole miniature golf course, three pools, a full-sized basketball court and "Dive-In" outdoor movie nights poolside.

Carnival Splendor, Carnival Miracle Transit Panama Canal En Route to New Homeports
The 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor and the 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle are shown here transiting the Panama Canal en route to their new homeports of Long Beach, Calif., and Tampa, Fla. Both ships start new year-round programs from these ports tomorrow.

During the cruise, guests had the unforgettable opportunity to transit the Panama Canal – one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World – and sail across Gatun Lake, one of the largest man-made lakes in the world, while visiting spectacular ports in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America.

Upon its arrival in Long Beach, Carnival Splendor will operate seven-day cruises to the Mexican Riviera, as well as longer length voyages to Alaska and Hawaii from Long Beach, increasing capacity on these routes by 41 percent.

With the launch of Carnival Miracle’s four- to 14-day cruises from Port Tampa Bay, Carnival is doubling its capacity at the port and further bolstering its position as the Caribbean cruise leader. Carnival Miracle will offer the only year-round longer-length cruise program from Tampa.

Carnival Names Senior VP Of Sales & Trade Marketing
Adolfo Perez, a 36-year veteran of Carnival Cruise Line, has been appointed senior vice president of sales and trade marketing.

Perez has been serving as vice president of sales and trade marketing since 2015. Under his leadership, Carnival has rolled out several successful initiatives and programs to reinvigorate and fortify relationships with travel agents and reestablished partnerships with various associations. In his new role, Perez will continue to be responsible for Carnival’s business development teams and trade marketing functions in the U.S., Canada and international markets, reporting to Ken Tate, who has been promoted to executive vice president & chief commercial officer.

“Adolfo has been critical to driving growth in our travel agent business, both domestically and internationally, and we want to recognize the success of his leadership and the efforts of his team and the results they have delivered,” said Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy. “We greatly value our relationship with our travel agent partners and all of us at Carnival are committed to continuing to work hard to develop innovative and beneficial programs to support them.”

Perez joined Carnival in 1982 as an embarkation agent and has held multiple managerial positions within the company’s sales and reservations departments over the past three and a half decades, including vice president of reservations sales, overseeing the line’s reservations contact centers where he developed many relationships within the travel agent community. Prior to joining Sales & Trade Marketing, he launched the company’s international sales and marketing office in London and upon his return to the U.S. served as the company’s vice president of new markets and product marketing.

“Working with the sales and trade marketing team for the past two and a half years has been an incredibly rewarding experience and I look forward to forging ahead with even more initiatives in the next phase of this role,” said Perez. “From Agentpalooza to our popular ‘Travel Agents Rock’ program, it’s been gratifying to see the relationship with our valued travel partners grow stronger and this is just the beginning.”

A resident of Miami Beach, Fla., Perez earned a master’s degree in business administration from Florida International University in Miami, as well as a Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) designation from the Institute of Certified Travel Agents (ICTA).

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 68.04 - 5.42%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 125.37 - 6.97%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.76 + 0.57%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 56.95 - 5.98%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which ocean liner and cruise ship has the distinction of having sailed with one, two and three funnels over her long career?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was first cruise ship fitted with a podded propulsion system, and what year did that ship enter service?

Answer - The first cruise ship to be fitted with a podded proplusion system was Carnival Cruise Lines' Elation (number 491), and was delivered in February 1998 from MasaYards in Helsinki, Finland.
courtesy of Steve Perry, Miami, Florida USA


Cruise News - January 29, 2018

New Ship Ordered For P&O Cruises
Carnival Corporation today announced it has signed a shipbuilding contract for a second next-generation cruise ship for its P&O Cruises brand with leading German shipbuilder Meyer Werft GmbH that is scheduled to be delivered in 2022.

Similar to a fellow P&O Cruises sister ship due for delivery in 2020, this second new vessel will be the largest cruise ship to be built specifically for the British market. It will be 180,000 gross tons and will accommodate approximately 5,200 guests (lower berths). Both new ships will be registered in the UK.

The new ship is part of Carnival Corporation's ongoing fleet enhancement strategy with 19 new ships scheduled for delivery between 2018 and 2022 – creating excitement in the vacation market and continuing to exceed guest expectations while accelerating demand for cruising, the fastest growing segment in the vacation industry.

The ship will be built by Meyer Werft at its shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, and feature the corporation's exclusive "green cruising" design as one of the first generation of cruise ships to be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) both while in port and at sea, which will significantly reduce air emissions with the shipping industry's most advanced fuel technology.

Carnival UK president Josh Weinstein said: "We are seeing the momentum in awareness of cruising both across the media and in our national psyche as ever-increasing numbers of people see first-hand the value for money, unrivalled service and extraordinary onboard experience. These two next-generation ships for delivery in the next four years are real and tangible evidence of our absolute optimism for future growth."

Added P&O Cruises senior vice president Paul Ludlow: "We have a bold and ambitious vision for P&O Cruises to become Britain's number one holiday choice and we can only do that by increasing our fleet. The build for our 2020 ship begins this spring and it will offer all generations of British guests the holiday of a lifetime on the next generation of P&O Cruises ships.

"In four years' time when her sister ship is launched, adding an additional 22 percent capacity, we will see an even greater rise in the popularity of cruising across all demographics and all age ranges including both Millennials and Generation Xers. Many of them have already learned to appreciate cruising by going on cruises with their families while growing up. Additionally, there are millions more we will attract in the future by retaining the amazing onboard and on-shore experiences and itinerary choices P&O Cruises is known for, while reflecting forward-thinking trends and tastes of British holidaymakers.

"This evolution of the guest experience will be evident over the next few years but will be underpinned throughout with in-depth market insight and feedback we receive from the best source: our current, past and prospective guests.

"The first of our new ships will go on sale in September and we will be announcing key elements of the design and build this year. Our P&O Cruises signature features in dining and entertainment will be across all our ships, but the space and build of the two new ships allows us to have innovative new experiences to create the most memorable holidays."

Thomas Weigend, managing director of Meyer Werft, added: "We are very happy to continue our excellent partnership with Carnival Corporation and P&O Cruises."

Carnival Miracle Kicks Off Year-Round Seven-Day Schedule From Tampa
Carnival Cruise Line's 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle kicked off a year-round program of seven-day cruises from Tampa this weekend, doubling the line's capacity at the port and further bolstering its position as the leader in Caribbean cruising.

Carnival Miracle will offer the only year-round longer-length cruise program from Port Tampa Bay, offering an unbeatable mix of destinations that appeal to a broad range of consumers, including families seeking an attractive and affordable vacation option.

Carnival Miracle joins Carnival Paradise which operates year-round four- to eight-day voyages from Tampa to the Caribbean and Cuba. Together, Carnival Miracle and Carnival Paradise will carry an estimated 280,000 passengers annually from Tampa – the most of any cruise operator.

"Carnival Cruise Line has been sailing from Tampa for nearly 25 years and we're thrilled to add a second year-round ship to provide our guests with an even greater variety of fantastic cruise vacation choices from this convenient homeport," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "We would like to recognize our partners at Port Tampa Bay and the Tampa community, as well as our valued travel agent partners, for their efforts in making Tampa one of our most popular and successful embarkation ports," she added.

"We're delighted that Carnival Cruise Line will have two year-round cruise ships dedicated to the Tampa market," said Paul Anderson, President/CEO Port Tampa Bay. "It speaks to the record-breaking demand of passengers in the Tampa Bay area wanting to get on a Carnival cruise."

Seven-Day Sailings from Tampa

On its week-long Tampa-based cruise program, Carnival Miracle departs Port Tampa Bay Saturdays or Sundays calling at four popular western Caribbean ports: Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Mahogany Bay (Roatan) and Belize, each known for their world-class beaches, varied shore excursion opportunities, centuries-old historical sites and excellent dining and shopping experiences.

These voyages from Tampa are part of Carnival's exclusive Cozumel Plus program, which feature extended stays that provide guests even more opportunities to experience and explore one of the Caribbean's most diverse vacation destinations with a variety of exciting and unforgettable excursion choices, many taking place on Mexico's mainland.

New Six- to 14-Day Cruises to the Caribbean, Panama Canal

Carnival recently added several six- to 14-day sailings aboard Carnival Miracle visiting spectacular ports throughout the Caribbean as well as an unforgettable opportunity to experience a partial transit of the Panama Canal. During the transit, guests will experience one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World and sail on Gatun Lake, one of the largest man-made bodies of water in the world.

The new six-day voyages feature day-long stops at Cozumel, Belize and Costa Maya or Mahogany Bay. Departure dates include Sept. 2 and Nov. 11, 2018, and Jan. 27 and March 31, 2019.

Eight-day Panama Canal cruises depart April 14 and Sept. 8, 2018, and Feb. 2 and April 6, 2019, and include a partial transit of the Panama Canal along with stops at Limon (Costa Rica) and Grand Cayman. There's also an eight-day, five-port Caribbean cruise that departs Nov. 17, 2019, and visits Cozumel, Costa Maya, Mahogany Bay, Belize and Grand Cayman.

Carnival Miracle will also offer a 14-day Carnival Journeys Panama Canal cruise round-trip from Tampa Dec. 2-16, 2018, featuring Cozumel and Limon prior to a partial Panama Canal transit followed by visits to Cartagena (Colombia), Aruba, Curacao and Montego Bay (Jamaica). Guests sailing on Carnival Journeys cruises enjoy unique local dining and entertainment experiences and a number of shipboard enrichment activities.

Norwegian Cruise Line Celebrates Construction Milestone For Norwegian Encore
Today Norwegian Cruise Line marked the start of construction for its newest ship. Named Norwegian Encore, Norwegian's latest addition to its young, modern fleet will sail The Caribbean from Miami seasonally beginning fall 2019. Previously, NCL had announced that Norwegian Encore would be designed for, and servering the Chinese market.

"Norwegian Encore will be the ultimate Breakaway Plus Class vessel and we are thrilled to celebrate the start of construction for this incredible new ship," said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. "Over 50 years ago the Norwegian brand began creating unforgettable vacation moments with the first inter-island cruise in The Caribbean from Miami. We continue building on our legacy of innovation with this brand-new state-of-the-art vessel perfect for exploring the natural beauty of some of the most remarkable islands in the world."

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and MEYER WERFT executives gathered at the MEYER WERFT Laser Center in Papenburg, Germany and cut the first plate of steel, marking the ceremonial start of construction of Norwegian Encore, which is due for delivery on October 31, 2019. "We are excited to start production for Norwegian Encore and to create another floating destination for Norwegian Cruise Line", said Stephan Schmees, Executive Board Member Project Management Ships, MEYER WERFT.

Norwegian Encore will be the seventeenth ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet and the line's fourth and final ship in the Breakaway Plus Class, the most successful Class in the brand's history. At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating nearly 4,000 guests, Norwegian Encore will sail weekly seven-day Caribbean cruises each Sunday from PortMiami, offering guests the superior service, world-class entertainment, signature dining and onboard experiences that Norwegian Cruise Line is known for around the globe. The new ship will pair innovative design and modern luxurious décor with an array of options that will allow guests the freedom and flexibility to enjoy their vacation at their own unique pace and style.

Norwegian Encore will feature amenities and interactive experiences that will excite and inspire, and more details on the ship's design, accommodations, dining and onboard offerings will be shared in the coming months. The ship will be available for reservations in March 2018.

Holland America Line Expands Denali Experience in Alaska with New Guest Accommodations
Holland America Line is expanding the guest experience on its award-winning Alaska Land+Sea Journeys with the addition of new guest accommodations at its Denali operation. The 99-room addition will feature the first-ever junior suites at the resort and is expected to be open for the 2019 summer Alaska cruise season. The 55 new junior suites will showcase balconies, larger living areas and greater amenities for guests.

The new rooms are an extension of Holland America Line's overland Alaska experience to Denali, which includes the McKinley Chalet Resort hotel and Denali Square, a gathering area to relax, shop, dine and enjoy music and entertainment. The addition will be located just west of Denali Square with views of Mt. Healy and Denali National Park.

"Following the opening of Denali Square, we're excited to continue the expansion and elevate the overall Denali experience once again by adding junior suites to our Denali property," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "Holland America Line has been at the forefront of Alaska exploration for more than 70 years, and our Land+Sea Journeys are the only way to go deep into the heart of Denali and enjoy a cruise in one seamless vacation. This will enable us to bring more guests on overland tours so they can witness the magnificence of Alaska."

The three-story project will feature junior suites and standard rooms with rustic-chic décor. All junior suites have balconies, so guests can enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding Alaska wilderness in private comfort. Each floor will have a central, open-air lobby with cozy furniture. The third floor has open public deck space with tables and loungers so guests can take in the panoramic scenery.

The new building will become a fundamental feature of the McKinley Chalet Resort, Holland America Line's magnificent 68-acre hotel property on the Nenana River. The hotel — featuring a reception hall, dining facilities and guest rooms — serves as base camp for all adventures at Denali National Park such as flightseeing, ATV adventures, hiking trails, river rafting and more. All accommodations feature stylish décor and premium amenities.

Alaska-based companies heading up the project include general contractor Ghemm Company, Inc., based in Fairbanks. Lead architect Heliotrope is based in Seattle, Washington, and also developed Karstens Public House at Denali Square. Heliotrope is working with the Fairbanks office of Alaskan architectural firm Bettisworth North. Costigan Integrated of Seattle is serving as project manager.

Steps from the new rooms, Denali Square is at the heart of Holland America Line's Denali property and is centrally located between the main area of the McKinley Chalet Resort and the riverfront guest rooms.

The largest building in the complex is Karstens Public House, the grand 7,000-square-foot, two-story restaurant showcasing views of the neighboring mountains for dining guests. An inviting deck with fire pits and outdoor seating also allows guests to immerse themselves in this special venue as they drink and dine.

At the center of Denali Square is an amphitheater with a covered performance stage and bench seating for guests to enjoy a variety of local shows and ranger talks. Those wanting to quench their thirst or listen to live music can visit Gold Nugget Saloon, home to the Music of Denali Dinner Theater, that becomes a bar and music venue after the show.

Denali Square also features fire pits, outdoor seating, retail shops offering local goods, and an artist-in-residence cabin where Alaska native and local artists display and discuss their works. Walking paths in and around Denali Square show off the property's mountainous landscapes and beautiful setting.

Cunard Partners with The New Yorker to Present "Cartoonists at Sea"
Cunard and venerable magazine The New Yorker have partnered to offer guests an exciting opportunity to explore the world of cartoons while aboard the flagship ocean liner Queen Mary 2.

During select 2018 Transatlantic Crossings from June to November, celebrated cartoonists of the acclaimed magazine will host exclusive drawing sessions, workshops, hands-on demonstrations and caption contests for passengers. The New Yorker, known for its single-panel cartoons, has offered a signature mix of news, culture, and the arts since its founding in 1925.

"We are excited to partner with the creative cartoonist team at the New Yorker to entertain our guests on board Cunard's Queen Mary 2," said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. "Our goal at Cunard is to offer extraordinary experiences to our guests, and we look forward to welcoming The New Yorker team onto these four Queen Mary 2 voyages."

More about the on-board experts who will be joining these voyages:

• Emily Flake will be part of the July 20, 2018 (M827) voyage. Flake has been cartooning for The New Yorker since 2008 and is also the author of Mama Tried: Dispatches from the Seamy Underbelly of Modern Parenting.

• Matt Diffee is set to join the June 10 (M821) and November 11, 2018 (M843) Crossings. Author of Hand Drawn Jokes for Smart Attractive People and the editor of three volumes of The Rejection Collection: Cartoons You Never Saw and Never Will See in The New Yorker, Diffee has been contributing cartoons to The New Yorker since 1999. His work has also appeared in Time, The Huffington Post, The Believer and Texas Monthly. Diffee received the Silver Reuben Award for best single-panel cartoonist of the year and he was recently named Chairman of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society.

• David Sipress will join the transatlantic voyage departing August 26, 2018 (M832). Sipress' work has appeared in the Boston Phoenix, Time, Parade, Playboy, Funny Times, The Washington Post, Harper's, Gastronomica, and Shambhala Sun. Sipress also lectures on the art of the cartoon and has published eight collections of his work. In 2016, Sipress was awarded the National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Award for Gag Cartooning.

• Ben Schwartz will be joining the October 7, 2018 Crossing (M838A). Schwartz has been a contributing cartoonist for The New Yorker since 2012. A man of many trades, Schwartz also works as an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, where he uses art to help educate future physicians on how to provide compassionate and patient-centric care.

Here Comes The Pride: Celebrity Cruises Holds Historic Wedding At Sea
In a historic ceremony hosted on board Celebrity Equinox, Francisco Vargas and Benjamin Gray became the first same-sex couple ever to be legally married at sea on a major cruise line.

The grooms were joined by their immediate family for an intimate ceremony officiated by Captain Dimitrios Manetas. They exchanged vows against the signature backdrop of the rose wall in Blu Restaurant, the location befitting the most memorable of moments.

"Words cannot express how proud I am to congratulate Francisco and Benjamin at this truly historic moment, both for them and for Celebrity. It's a true privilege to know that the ceremony performed onboard Celebrity Equinox has made history as the first legal same-sex marriage at sea," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "Together we are paving the way for couples around the world to know that their love and commitment is to be celebrated equally, and that everyone is welcome on board a Celebrity cruise."

As first announced in October 2017, the motion follows a transformative vote in Malta, where a majority of the Celebrity fleet is registered, which passed the country's parliament 66-1. The long-awaited referendum opened the door for Celebrity to legally recognize same-sex marriages performed onboard while at sea, and have the fleet's captains officiate the ceremonies.

Vargas, who works for one of Celebrity's top Travel Partners, said: "Traveling is in my blood – and when we heard Celebrity Cruises was celebrating equality and embracing our community, we wanted to be a part of it. We are grateful for the outpouring of support from our Cruise Planners family and hope our story brings strength for others in the LGBTQ+ community to confidently love whoever they choose."

The Celebrity Wedding Cruise program offers onboard ceremonies and destination weddings for lovebirds. The Nautical Nuptials at Sea package includes a Captain-led ceremony, an event coordinator's services, live music, one hour of photography, cake for two, a bottle of champagne, plus additional romantic turndown amenities post-ceremony, and more.

Viking Cruises Ltd Announces Pricing of Private Offering of $675 Million of Senior Secured Notes
Viking Cruises Ltd today announced that it has priced its private offering of $675 million aggregate principal amount of 5.000% Senior Secured Notes due 2028 (the "Secured Notes") by VOC Escrow Ltd (the "Escrow Issuer") and its private tack-on offering of an additional $275 million of its 5.875% Senior Notes due 2027 (the "Additional Notes" and, together with the Secured Notes, the "Notes"). The Escrow Issuer was formed solely for the purpose of issuing the Secured Notes and, following the initial escrow release, will be merged with and into Viking's direct wholly owned subsidiary Viking Ocean Cruises Ltd ("VOC") and VOC will assume the obligations of the Escrow Issuer under the Secured Notes and the related indenture.

Viking intends to use the net proceeds from the Secured Notes (1) to prepay all outstanding amounts under the loan agreements used to finance two ocean newbuildings, the Viking Star and the Viking Sky, and (2) to repurchase another ocean newbuilding, the Viking Sea, and discharge the related sale-leaseback financial agreement. Viking intends to use the net proceeds of the Additional Notes for general corporate purposes.

The Notes are being offered only to persons reasonably believed to be "qualified institutional buyers" as defined in Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act"), and to certain non-U.S. persons outside the United States under Regulation S under the Securities Act. The Notes have not been, and will not be, registered under the Securities Act and may not be offered or sold without registration unless pursuant to an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act and all applicable state laws.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 71.94 + 4.47%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 134.77 + 4.72%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.75 + 2.94%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 60.57 + 2.02%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was first cruise ship fitted with a podded propulsion system, and what year did that ship enter service?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Prior to S.O.S. a different code was used as the International signal for distress. What was the code, what did it stand for, and what was the first large passenger ship to use it to request help?

Answer - The code is CQD; meaning Come Quick Distress. This was used by the liner RMS Titanic after she struck an iceberg in April of 1912.
courtesy of Patti Stasiak

Some additional facts about SOS and CQD - In Feburary of 1904, the Marconi company suggested the use of CQD for a distress signal. Although generally accepted to mean, "Come Quick Danger," that is not the case. It is a general call, "CQ," followed by "D," meaning distress. A strict interpretation would be "All stations, Distress."

Likewise, contrary to popular belief, SOS is not an abbreviation for anything (...including Save Our Ship or Save Our Souls). According to the 1918 Marconi Yearbook of Wireless Telegraphy and Telephony "...it was adopted on account of its easy radiation and it unmistakable character." The first recorded use of the new SOS call by an American ship was in 1908 by the wireless operator of the ss Arapahoe after the ship lost a propeller. In 1912, wireless operator Jack Phillips first used the CQD call followed by Titanic's call letters MGY. Later, following second Radio Officer Harold Bride's suggestion, Phillips began interspersing SOS with the CQD call.

VACATION & CRUISE SPECIALS
Check out these great deals from CruisePage.com

Royal Caribbean - Bahamas Getaway from $129 per person
Description: Experience the beautiful ports of Nassau and Royal Caribbean's private island - CocoCay on a 3-night Weekend Getaway to the Bahamas. Absorb everything island life has to offer as you snorkel with the stingrays, parasail above the serene blue waters and walk the endless white sand beaches. From Miami.
Carnival - 4-Day Bahamas  from $229 per person
Description: Enjoy a wonderful 3 Day cruise to the fun-loving playground of Nassau, Bahamas. Discover Nassau, the capital city as well as the cultural, commercial and financial heart of the Bahamas. Meet the Atlantic Southern Stingrays, the guardians of Blackbeard's treasure.
NCL - Bermuda - 7 Day from $499 per person
Description: What a charming little chain of islands. Walk on pink sand beaches. Swim and snorkel in turquoise seas. Take in the historical sights. They're stoically British and very quaint. Or explore the coral reefs. You can get to them by boat or propelled by fins. You pick. Freestyle Cruising doesn't tell you where to go or what to do. Sure, you can plan ahead, or decide once onboard. After all, it's your vacation. There are no deadlines or must do's.
Holland America - Eastern Caribbean from From $599 per person
Description: White sand, black sand, talcum soft or shell strewn, the beaches of the Eastern Caribbean invite you to swim, snorkel or simply relax. For shoppers, there's duty-free St. Thomas, the Straw Market in Nassau, French perfume and Dutch chocolates on St. Maarten. For history buffs, the fascinating fusion of Caribbean, Latin and European cultures. For everyone, a day spent on HAL's award winning private island Half Moon Cay.
Celebrity - 7-Night Western Mediterranean  from $549 per person
Description: For centuries people have traveled to Europe to see magnificent ruins, art treasures and natural wonders. And the best way to do so is by cruise ship. Think of it - you pack and unpack only once. No wasted time searching for hotels and negotiating train stations. Instead, you arrive at romantic ports of call relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on the world.
Holland America - Alaska from From $499 per person
Description: Sail between Vancouver and Seward, departing Sundays on the ms Statendam or ms Volendam and enjoy towering mountains, actively calving glaciers and pristine wildlife habitat. Glacier Bay and College Fjord offer two completely different glacier-viewing experiences.
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